DETROIT (Michigan News Source) — As the summer months approach, Detroit is bracing for an annual challenge: the rise in crime rates that accompanies the heat. To address this, local and federal law enforcement agencies are launching the third iteration of the Summer Surge program, an initiative designed to make the city safer from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

This year’s Summer Surge brings a new focus on Detroit’s parks. U.S. Attorney Dawn Ison explained the importance of these public spaces in a news conference on May 23: “Children in Detroit, like in cities elsewhere, should be able to go to their parks and feel safe and protected.” This new emphasis comes in response to incidents of violence in parks, which have marred these otherwise family-friendly areas.

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The program targets the city’s 8th and 9th precincts, areas known for higher crime rates. But this year, the stakes are higher with a firm commitment to federal prosecution for those caught with illegal firearms, including fully automatic weapons and guns with obliterated serial numbers. Carjackings and robberies in these precincts will also see a tougher federal response. 

And the numbers back up the effort. Citywide homicides are down over 24%, non-fatal shootings nearly 23%, carjackings more than 56%, and robberies almost 29%. Not to mention the impressive drops within the 8th and 9th precincts. “Although there are still numbers on the board, let me be clear: we are not done,” Ison said.

The city isn’t just cracking down on crime; it’s also committed to cleaning up neighborhoods. Deputy Mayor Todd Bettison pointed out to The Detroit News that abandoned buildings and illegal waste dumping make neighborhoods feel unsafe. The Department of Public Works is tackling these issues head-on, aiming to make Detroit’s streets as clean as they are safe. 

“We believe that by offering our residents opportunities and resources, along with clean and safe outdoor spaces, violence will be reduced,” Bettison said.

The city is also planning two “Peacenics” this summer. Scheduled for June 15 at Heilman Park and June 29 at O’Hair Park, these events will connect residents with essential services like health screenings, job training, and literacy programs.

“We know we cannot arrest our way out of crime,” Deputy Police Chief Franklin Hayes said. “However, we want those who choose to victimize our community to know our officers and this partnership will work to make you accountable for your actions.”

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With a renewed focus on these initiatives, Detroit is poised to make this summer a turning point in its fight against crime.