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DPD Chief vows to crack down on carjacking

Chief James Craig, speaking  DONALD BARNES PHOTO

Chief James Craig, speaking

On Aug. 26, the Detroit Police Department (DPD) in collaboration with HEAT (Help Eliminate Auto Theft) unveiled the “Heatwave Initiative” to residents, community leaders and business owners.  Gathered at Chosen Generation Community Center, on the city’s east side, Detroit’s new Police Chief James Craig announced that DPD and HEAT are working together to prevent the violent crimes of carjacking and provide safety awareness tips within communities.

Chief Craig called the carjackings “a crisis.” He told those gathered at the press conference to announce the initiative that although overall crime in the city has gone down, carjackings have increased.

“We have to ask ourselves why this happens in Detroit, and are we going to continue to accept that,” said Craig, who added that carjackings in Detroit have been going on “too long.” “We can talk about shootings and homicide but this is the one crime that drives fear in this city,” Craig said

Craig says he’s calling on community members and gas station and store owners to help clean up Detroit’s neighborhoods.

“Those are locations where individuals are loitering and using them as a launchpad to engage in criminal activity,” he said. “If (store owners) allow criminal activity, it brings other crimes.”

Craig says gas station and store owners who refuse to address blight, which brings criminal activity, need to be held accountable.

Craig also addressed reports of a new stop-and-frisk policy for the DPD.

“We have not changed our policy,” he said. “We’re not doing anything differently. Our officers are attentive, we’re a constitutional police agency. We’re just being aware, using communities as our partners.

Members of the DPD, HEAT and volunteers will go door-to-door — to homes, local businesses, and gas stations — distributing information, door hangers, posters and signs about the initiative. DPD advises citizens to call 1-800-242-HEAT when they have information about car thieves, chop shop activities, carjackings, auto theft related insurance fraud and/or related identity theft.

Any reports that result in an arrest can receive an award up to $10,000.

–Staff report

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