October 19, 2021

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Detroiters make voices heard in poll

Amid a jump in violent crime in this and other cities nationwide, Detroit residents report being much more worried about public safety than about police misconduct, a new USA TODAY/Suffolk University/Detroit Free Press Poll finds.

By an overwhelming 9-1, they would feel safer with more cops on the street, not fewer. Though one-third complain that Detroit police use force when it isn’t necessary – and Black men report high rates of racial profiling – those surveyed reject by 3-1 the slogan of some progressives to “defund the police.”

“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,” said Charlita Bell, 41, a lifelong Detroit resident who was among those called in the poll. Last year, when her car was hit by stray bullets during a shopping trip, she hurried home rather than wait for the police for fear the shooter might return.

“It’s always some random shootings,” sighed Rita Gibbs, 70, who is so distressed she hates to turn on the news these days. “I just can’t stand it.”  

The Detroit survey was the second in a series called CityView, a project by the USA TODAY Network and the Suffolk University Political Research Center exploring attitudes of residents in major American cities toward policing, public safety and community. The first poll, which was taken in Milwaukee last month, found broad dissatisfaction with law enforcement practices there