Detroit residents resoundingly reject the defund the police movement, with around 90% saying they would feel safe with more police, not less, according to a new poll.
They are far more worried about public safety than police reform, and three out of four respondents reject the "defund the police" slogan by leftists, the USA Today/Suffolk University/Detroit Free Press Poll found.
"It's scary sitting in the house, and when you go outside to the gas station or the store, it's possible someone will be shooting right next to you," lifelong Detroit resident Charlita Bell, 41, who was among those polled, told USA Today.
Bell has reason for the fear. Her car was hit by stray bullets during a shopping trip. She didn't even wait around for police to show, she just hurried to the safety of her home, she told the paper, fearing the shooter would return.
Despite the 2020 summer of riots, looting, arson, violence after the George Floyd killing at the hands of a white police officer, the poll found police reform ranked dead last among eight concerns for Detroit residents.
"It's very dangerous now in the city," Melanie Taylor, 50, told USA Today. "I don't even get gas in the city because of all the shootings and the road rage that's going on on the freeways."
Education was No. 1 at 23%, while public safety was a close second at 23%. Just 4% said police reform was the biggest issue for Detroit, the poll found.
The Black residents polled had even a lower emphasis than the entire survey. Just 3% named police reform the top issue. Notably, public safety was No. 1 for them at 24%.
"You have some good cops and then you have some bad ones," Derrick Wilson, 52, who also goes by the name D.J. Raw, told USA Today.
Coincidentally, it was the white respondents more concerned about police reform (12%) than public safety (10%).
"I think the Detroit police are representative of most if not all police organizations in the United States, in which they structurally contain behaviors that encourage racism and white supremacy," Justin Fenwick, 35, a real estate agent, told USA Today. "It's hard to look at a police department and say they're doing a good job."
Detroit has the highest percentage of Black residents of any large American city, according to the U.S. Census Bureau:
- 78.3% Black.
- 14.7% white.
- 1.8% two or more races.
Race relations were cited by just 5% of residents as the leading issue in Detroit, the poll found.
Police were important to Detroit residents.
"I feel like they're one of us; they're not some invading force," Kenneth Wolfe, 74, a retired landlord, told the USA Today. "This is a society that is based on law and order. If you don't have people there to support law and order, then you don't have a society. They're the enforcement of law and order."
The polled surveyed 500 Detroit resident adults July 13-17 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.
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