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Detroit Police Chief: Armed Citizens Fighting Off Crime

Sunday, 17 Aug 2014 10:07 PM

By Greg Richter

Detroit Police Chief James Craig says his suggestion last January that law-abiding residents should arm themselves has helped cut crime in his struggling city.

Craig pointed out that crime statistics have dropped overall, but admitted there is no way to know for certain how many crimes were not committed because a potential criminal feared facing an armed citizen.

There have been 37 percent fewer robberies so far in 2014 than the same period in 2013, 22 percent fewer break-ins, and 30 percent fewer carjackings, The Detroit News reports.

Studies have differed on whether armed citizens deter crime, the News reported.

Detroit resident Al Woods told the paper he believes guns in people's homes deter crime. Woods says he is a reformed criminal and now an anti-violence advocate.

"If I was out there now robbing people these days, knowing there are a lot more people with guns, I know I’d have to rethink my game plan," the 60-year-old Woods said.

Michigan law allows open carry, in which a gun must be visible at all times. But many Detroiters are opting to obtain concealed-weapons permits.

Many just want to protect their homes because they know the understaffed Detroit Police Department can't reach them in time.

"That’s why I got it: because I’m going to be in the house," 63-year-old grandmother Patricia Champion told The Guardian of the U.K. "Now, if somebody chooses to come in and I didn’t invite you, between the Glock and the dog, you’re gone. If one doesn’t get you, the other one will."

Thirty-seven-year-old Tanisha Moner was afraid of guns after two attacks when she was 17 and 21. But she says she recently was forced to face her fears and buy a gun.

There have been problems, however.

A man was arrested last week after shooting at a news crew that had shown up at his house to interview him about a robbery. No one was injured, and police believe the man may have thought the reporter was the woman who had tricked him into opening his door before the attack.

There has been a spate of other recent shootings, but before that none since early May, the police chief pointed out.

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