DETROIT (WXYZ) - "This has changed my life forever" a mom says through tears at a vigil to mark the one year anniversary of her daughter's murder. So so many vigils and so many tears. Her daughter's case is still unsolved.
In Detroit in 2012, 386 people were murdered. The head of the homicide unit says 80 percent of those victims were shot. He says most were between the ages of 17 and 30, although nearly 30 were younger than that.
It is a heartbreaking reality, but the Inspector says too many people solve any and every conflict with a gun or a knife or an assault.
The agonizing process from crime scene to the morgue is repeated over and over again, sometime more than once in a single day.
The Medical Examiner, Dr. Carl Schmidt says sometimes the autopsies can take a long time because they have to document every wound to see if what they find is consistent with the stories being told to investigators about what happened.
The process of coming to identify a loved one at the morgue is so difficult. There is a room, maybe the saddest room in the city where family members come to look at the face of their loved one on a screen.
"It is heart-churning," says the Medical Examiner's Chief Investigator Albert Samuels - "...but it is necessary."
The sister of one young man shot and killed says "I can't describe what it was like to see my brother's face. It was devastating, like nothing I have ever imagined. I was in denial at first."
Losing hope in the city you love because of crime is a heartbreaking reality for Tapria Cousette, whose brother, Jalen, was murdered a year ago.
"We're hurting, we're really hurting. Our family is grieving," said Cousette.
She's also a mom and wants to see a safer city. Our city leaders and Detroit police want the very same thing, but where do we begin?
Investigators say if we can educate young people to understand killing is not a way to resolve conflict, we could see a safer city.
In addition, officials are trying to make the police presence felt more on the street. Mayor Dave Bing has announced a re-assignment of police officers, which he hopes will help reduce the crime rate. There will now be 80 percent of officers on patrol.
But there is something you can do to help end the violence, to stop some of the heartbreak. You can come forward if you know anything about any crime. Police say forget about “no snitching," you could be saving a life.
The Inspector at homicide says they closed 42 percent of their cases last year and could close more if witnesses would cooperate. "Sometimes we know who did it but cannot prove it," says Inspector Dwane Blackmon. He says people have to forget about the "no snitch" thing and come forward.
Comparing Detroit to other major cities, Detroit had 386 homicides, Chicago had just over 500 but blames gang violence. New York had 414, down some - but police there have a stop and frisk policy. Windsor had only 3. Some law enforcement experts say it is because of a ban on handguns.
Whatever it is, police want families to know they are doing everything they can to bring them some justice. The families say while it won't bring back their loved one, it would bring them some justice.
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