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18 Murders in 6 Days

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After having less than one murder per day in 2003, Detroit has had 18 murders in the past 6 days. At this rate, there will be more than 1000 murders by the end of the year. Let's hope things quiet down soon.

In Detroit, 18 killed in 6 days

Cops say many drug- or domestic-related

January 30, 2004



Weeks after Detroit celebrated a 9-percent annual drop in homicides, killings have spiked with 17 fatal shootings and one fatal beating in six days.

The slayings include a triple homicide Jan. 23, two double homicides on Wednesday, a double homicide Saturday, as well as the fatal Sunday morning shooting of a 30-year-old man at the Platinum Lounge on West 8 Mile.That's an average of three killings a day. In recent years, Detroit has averaged a little more than one homicide a day.

Detroit Police Homicide Inspector Marilyn Hall-Beard said Thursday that at least eight of the 18 homicides, which occurred between Jan. 23 and Wednesday, appear to be drug-related.

Cmdr. Craig Schwartz of the department's major crimes division stressed that most of the slayings were not random.

"We haven't had any unusual number of random shootings," Schwartz said Thursday. "Homicides are difficult to predict, but we've had a number of narcotic-related shootings that have driven up our numbers significantly in the past week."

Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is in Houston to examine Super Bowl security procedures as Detroit prepares to host the 2006 game. He was unavailable for comment Thursday.

Clementine Barfield, the founder of the Save Our Sons and Daughters nonviolence advocacy group in Detroit, said the perception that cold weather deters violent crime is inaccurate.

"Your first thought is that it's too cold for people to be killing each other," she said. "But because it is cold, people are in close proximity. There is a lot of depression and money issues in January after the holidays."

After 714 homicides in 1974, the Motor City acquired the stigma as the country's Murder City, but its violent reputation has waned in recent years as its crime rate declined.

In 2003, the city's homicide totals dipped to 361 from 402 the previous year. The drop was attributed to prosecutors working closely with police in precincts, as well as a Fugitive Apprehension Service Team, which uses police and sheriff's deputies to get felons off the streets.

Nobody is suggesting that the city will continue to endure the pace of three homicides a day, but if it continued, the city would top 1,000 killings for this year.

"It sounds trite, but too many people in this city are going through so much that they don't care about themselves or anyone else," Barfield said. "We have to do more to reach those people and their inner spirits."

Assistant Police Chief Harold Cureton said most of the cases involved people who knew each other.

In one case, Ebony Abrams, 25, was shot and killed Wednesday by her live-in boyfriend, police said.

In another case, a 48-year-old man shot his lover's husband Sunday in a suspected love triangle, police said.

"Most of these are something that were calculated or domestic in nature," Cureton said Thursday. "There's no rhyme or reason or a pattern. But we've still got to get a grip on it. We have too many guns out here on the street."

Contact BEN SCHMITT at 313-222-6597 or [email protected]

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My god. That's a per capita rate the probably surpasses places like Johannesburg and Sao Paulo. :(

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I's not good. I'm confident that it will drop to more regular numbers soon though. I couldn't even begin to imagine the number of murders going from 361 one year to more than 1000 the next.

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Another thing I didn't mention before is that the murders mostly take place in a few very high crime neighborhoods. Although I'm sure some people will read this and will fear for their lives the next time they have to cross into the Detroit city limits. LOL.

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