An Australian photographer got a quick, bitter dose of Detroit and its police force.
While taking photos outside of the abandoned Packard Plant on July 25, Robert Wallace was chased by a gunman who wanted his equipment. Wallace dove into the bed of his friend’s pickup truck as the assailant pointed the gun at him, demanding he give up the camera and other gear.
“I was just waiting for the bullet to pierce my skin,” he told me.
The pickup sped off, and the gunman never pulled the trigger.
But what happened next really irked Wallace. Police declined to file a police report, saying a crime was never committed, he said.
“A guy brandishing a pistol within inches of us isn’t a crime?” Wallace asked.
Police told us Friday that they are investigating why a report wasn’t taken.
It’s a common complaint that Detroit police fail to take official reports from crime victims, a practice that results in artificially low crime rates. This year, Chief James Craig is reporting sizable drops in all crimes.
“I can’t understand why the police wouldn’t want people to know where crimes are being committed,” Wallace said.
Last year, two tourists were carjacked in the same area and robbed of their money, camera and cell phones.
On Christmas eve, urban explorers found a dead body in the Packard Plant.
Police have largely ignored the Packard Plant area, despite persistent illegal activity and several murders in the area.
Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.