Black Detroit Residents Far More Worried About Crime Than Police Reform


AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File

A new USA Today/Suffolk University/Detroit
Free Press Poll finds that Detroit residents are far more concerned
about public safety than they are police reform.

By a staggering 9-1 margin, residents say they would feel
safer with more cops on the street, not fewer, and by a 3-1 margin reject the
idea of “defunding the police.”

Detroit is a city that’s 79 percent black, which
underscores the idea that the issue of public safety is not a racial issue. The
importance of police reform in the black community may be oversold.

White Detroit residents were far more likely to name
reforming police as a major issue, according to the poll. And there were
differences in emphasis on reform between black men and women.

USA Today:

men were twice as likely as Black women to report having been stopped and
questioned by police investigating crimes, 38% compared with 17%. What’s more,
Black men were twice as likely as Black women to say they weren’t satisfied
with how police handled the encounter, 46% compared with 20%.

have some good cops and then you have some bad ones,” Derrick Wilson, 52, who
also goes by the name D.J. Raw, said in a follow-up interview. At times, some
of those surveyed said they had seen racial profiling in the approach police
took toward them personally and toward their neighborhoods in general.

The Detroit poll was one in a series of USA Today surveys
called Cityview, looking at attitudes toward police, crime, and police reform.
A poll taken last month of Milwaukee residents found most
were dissatisfied with the job their police department was doing.

But Detroit residents’ concerns are more basic, given the
threat to ordinary people just leaving the house.

Detroit, one in five residents (19%) cited public safety as the biggest issue
facing the city, second only to education, named by 23%. On a list of eight
concerns, police reform ranked last, at 4%.

poll found a significant racial divide on the issue. Black residents ranked
crime at the top of their list of concerns: 24% cited public safety, just 3%
police reform.

white residents were a bit more concerned about police reform than public
safety, 12% compared with 10%. Education was by far the biggest issue on their
minds, named by 31%.

“It’s scary sitting in the house, and when you go outside
to the gas station or the store, it’s possible someone will be shooting right
next to you,” Charlita Bell told USA Today.

The police reform/criminal justice reform movements
believed they could radicalize black residents across the country by portraying
police as the enemy. Instead, they have highlighted the need for police
protection among the city’s most vulnerable residents.

And Democratic politicians, hoping to ride the wave of
manufactured disgust over police misconduct, miscalculated badly.


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