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'The stakes are high.' Detroit police cracking down on drag racing, other crimes

Posted at 2:55 PM, Jun 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-16 18:37:37-04

DETROIT (WXYZ)  — Detroit Police know where they need to focus. You can see it on the street entering Rouge Park, skid marks from drifting, Detroit’s word for spinning donuts. There’s also drag racing that attracts big crowds, blocks streets, with drinking, and guns are pulled during arguments.

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Interim Police Chief James White has made this his priority. He wants the permanent job.

Assistant Police Chief David LeValley tells 7 Action News, “The stakes are high. There’s a lot going on in the city all over the place.”

Charles Lawrence was relaxing in Rouge Park in the middle of the afternoon and says during the evening it gets crazy, adding, “spinning around acting like they, I don’t know, that’s their thing I guess.”

We also found Juanita Davis driving through the park with her pride and joy nieces, 4-year-old Nirvana and 11-year-old A’mori. Davis knows to leave the park before dark telling us,
“things happen in a crowd, drinking, whatever, shooting. I don’t need that.”

Her advice for police: “Be out here. Study the folks. See what’s going on with the crowd.”

It turns out, Detroit Police are doing that in the state-of-the-art Green Light Command Center with eyes in the sky. Assist Chief LeValley says, “We have teams of people that are constantly reviewing all the video in Greektown, downtown, other areas where we have a large number of camera assets.”

Greektown has gotten a lot of attention as one of the hot spots with cell phone videos going viral. One was recorded on June 2 before the plan to increase boots on the ground. The Mayor has approved 6,000 hours of overtime for extra police.

“We were able to expand our crowd control plan last week to the level we didn’t deploy in the last couple of years,” Assistant Chief LeValley says.

Over the past weekend, DPD stats in the category of drifting and drag racing show:

  • 46 men investigated
  • 36 women investigated
  • 58 autos investigated
  • 56 traffic stops
  • 63 citations issued
  • 2 cars put into the system for forfeiture
  • 2 other cars impounded
  • 2 tickets for reckless driving

Police also say 70% of the arrests made were people outside of the city.

"Don't come to Detroit and think that it's OK to commit crimes because you're in Detroit. It's not," said Assistant Chief LeValley.

People in the city and those who come into the city just want the mayhem to be over. Charles Lawrence says when it happens, “I hurry up and leave.”

The new Interim Police Chief and the entire department know this summer is the test for them.