Areas of Detroit's east side a danger zone? Search for answers in Utash beating

DETROIT (WXYZ) - For years, certain pockets of Detroit’s east side have been declared danger zones.

We walked with Detroit's Chief of Police in the neighborhood that is steps away from where Steve Utash was beaten. The area is watched over by the 5th precinct.

This area has historically been plagued with violence, including murders and far too many shootings to count.

“I will not accept this notion that Detroit is one of the most violent cities in America,” says Police Chief James Craig.

For nine months, Police Chief James Craig has been on a mission to change that perception, but it's a tough sell.

When Chief Craig was asked how he felt when Detroit is portrayed as the “wild, wild west.” He says it’s not the “wild, wild west” and that poverty is the real issue.

Poverty and unemployment are evident in this area.

The area near Morange and McKinnley is where Steve Utash, a man from Clinton Township, was viciously attacked by an out of control mob - out for blood. Utash was doing the right thing by stopping to help a boy who dashed in front of his truck and was hit.

Some residents in the area wouldn’t even to speak to us about the beating on camera.

Corey Williams, a community activist, understands why.

People are afraid of getting shot, afraid of retaliation and afraid of slow police response.

Chief James Craig begs to differ. He says the 50-minute wait for police is over.  He says the quick arrests in the Utash beating is evident. People are speaking up.

“I see a community that's fed up, and sick and tired of being victims,” said Chief Craig.

Chief Craig say despite homeowners arming themselves with guns to stop home invasions, despite carjacking gangs targeting the elderly and despite the black eye of the Utash beating -  there are brighter days ahead for Detroit with new leadership in the city and and more confidence in DPD.

 

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