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Protecting Detroit’s Kids

June 21, 2012 04:47:00 am
Comments (4)

By Amber Hunt

In a scene far too common on Detroit's streets, medics rush a fatally wounded shooting victim to the hospital at Morang and Somerset on Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2009 Photo by Amber Hunt

As Detroit police officials prepared last month to face media questions about yet another fatal shooting of a teenager on the city’s northeast side, Officer Monica Evans faced a different type of crowd: high school students.

Surrounded by about 25 students from around the city, Evans asked the question that she anticipated her boss, Police Chief Ralph Godbee Jr., would get from reporters: “what could law enforcement have done to prevent this?”

“They said, ‘Nothing,’” Evans recalled.  “They said, ‘Our parents have to be better’ ... I was amazed. That’s from the mouths of babes.”

“Nothing” isn’t an option, of course, in a city that has only recently dipped below an average of a murder a day— a drop that coincides with a population hemorrhage of more than 200,000 people in the past 10 years.

In a May 6 speech to the Detroit branch of the NAACP, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder commended the agency and the city for the fight they’ve waged so far, but he said there’s much more to do.

“Nationwide, homicide is the leading cause of death for black men between the ages of 15 and 24,” Holder said. “More than 50 percent of all young people are exposed to violence at some point in their lives, either as victims or as witnesses, and one report even showed that here in Detroit an average of two young black men are killed every week—a murder rate nearly seven times higher than the population at large.”

On the whole, Detroit is trying.

Six Cities Share Ideas

The city is one of six major U.S. municipalities working with the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention aiming to share experiences and initiative ideas in hopes of changing not just statistics, but a culture lacking the empathy to grasp the heartache they’re unleashing on generations.

The forum includes local and federal law-enforcement agencies, including the Department of Justice.

Joining Detroit in the forum are Boston, Chicago, Memphis, San Jose, CA, and Salinas, CA. Each city is beset by stories of heart-rending youth violence that belie seemingly optimistic statistics showing that violent crime— particularly homicides by young people—is dropping.

Representatives from the cities are coordinating regularly via email and twice a year in person in Washington, D.C., to learn how each other’s efforts are paying off.

“That’s the benefit of this partnership,” Officer Evans said. “It’s to bring everybody together under one umbrella to utilize each other’s best wisdom, knowledge (and) experience. Everybody has to put their own feelings aside and their own egos. It’s not about us; it’s about what we can do.”

For Evans, the key is instilling humility and empathy among so-called “at-risk” young people.

“Humility and empathy really go together. It takes a lot more for me to love on you when you’re wrong to me,” she tells students. “That is not weakness. That is strength.”

Evans knows about strength. The 39-year-old Detroiter began as a schoolteacher and switched to law enforcement in hopes of reaching even more young adults. In addition to her three biological children, she has adopted another child and become legal guardian to three teens labeled as “troubled.” One of the teens’ mothers had died of a drug overdose and father was in prison.

“I was 22 when I took in my first 15-year-old,” Evans recalled.

Detroit has focused on three neighborhoods of extreme violence, including the 6.5-mile area close to Osborn High School near 7 Mile and Hoover—an area much rougher than the 8 Mile stretch that rapper Eminem made famous. Last summer, the area saw 38 shootings, eight of them fatal. And it was within that area that three teens were gunned down May 21 in a gang-related shootout that left one 16-year-old dead, Adam Vaughn who died of multiple gunshot wounds, according to the Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office, prompting Evans’ conversation with high schoolers.

Also targeted are neighborhoods around Cody High School on the city’s northwest side and Deny High School, which, like Osborn, is on the northeast side. 

Safe Routes

One of the programs, Safe Routes, uses volunteers to help cover the routes around the high schools and feeder schools to keep watch over kids walking there. Evans said the department analyzed EMS calls to target the routes and time extra help was needed.

Operation Safe Passage, meanwhile, focuses on finding alternatives to “exclusionary discipline” —usually suspension or expulsion. That’s imperative, Evans said, because zero-tolerance rules at some schools forces young adults from the classrooms to the streets, making them more likely to either commit crimes or become victims themselves.

“When they’re kicked out of the education system, they become more detrimental to society,” Evans said.

Tackling truancy is the first step.

Under the Youth Violence Prevention Initiative, Detroit police have conducted three truancy sweeps. Instead of punishing kids playing hooky, they aimed to find out and address the reason behind it.

Of the three schools participating, Osborn has been the most involved, and Evans said the numbers indicate the initiative is making an impact: In the 2010-2011 school year, about 300 students were suspended or expelled— an average of more than 30 per month.

In the first three months of the 2011-2012 school year, after the district loosened its zero tolerance policy, just 14 students were expelled or suspended.

“In the same time period, crime stats decreased in that area,” Evans said.

Time will tell if the two are directly connected; but to Evans, it’s a good start.

The initiative’s remaining cities aren’t on par with Detroit’s crime rate. Chicago saw 432 murders or non-negligent homicides in 2010, the last complete year for which data is available from the FBI. The city has about three times Detroit’s population. Salinas, San Jose, Boston and Memphis have much lower murder rates.

Problem Enclaves

Still, each has problematic enclaves that justify extra attention, said Jeffrey Butts, director of the Research and Evaluation Center at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.

“It doesn’t matter what the national trend is when you’re talking to someone who’s just heard about a kid in his neighborhood shot on his front porch,” said Butts, who helps compile and analyze the six cities’ programs.

“You can talk about the national average going down by 50 percent, but national trends don’t matter much to you if you’ve had four school shootings.”

Detroit seems to be the poster child for defying optimistic statistics. From January to June 2011, a time period in which the number of murders decreased by 5.7 percent nationally, Detroit homicides went up by 1.2 percent, according to data compiled by the FBI.

Walk through the city’s hardest-hit neighborhoods, where murder victims’ bodies are routinely discovered in burned-out houses and vacant lots, and you’ll have a hard time grasping that Americans, on average, are far safer than they realize.

“The probability of any American being a victim of violent crime on average is lower than it’s been” in nearly 20 years, Butts said.

That’s a surprise even to his 81-year-old mother, he acknowledged, because media report on slayings so much. But victim surveys, which Butts considers the most accurate method of tracking crime prevalence, indicate the country is safer than it’s been in decades.

But Evans cautions that good news in crime is never good enough: even one young person dying is too much. She’s seen the faces of Detroit’s survivors and has even taken guardianship of a few at-risk children.

“You have to engage people to know not to be fearful of the minority that’s messing it up for the majority,” she said. “The majority are all doing great things.”

With a change in practices and mindset, she predicted, “we’re going to see a real difference if we keep this going over the next few years.”

EDITORS NOTE: To read more about juvenile justice reform initiatives around the country, please check out TCR’s resources page “Kids Behind Bars

Amber Hunt is a news editor for The Associated Press and author of the true-crime books “Dead But Not Forgotten” and “All-American Murder.”  She welcomes comments from readers and can also be contacted  via Twitter: www.twitter.com/ReporterAmber.

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Posted by Paul M. Clements
Wednesday, July 04, 2012 09:07

What a predictable response: Out of three comments, one (probably a black person) is blaming it on white city officials, and the other is praising the official response. Here’s some truth about Detroit:
recent article presented in a blog by a Detroit father at
http://www.dadi.org/dn_bleak.htm states:
 
“In a recent study by the Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation, comparing statistics for its Kids Count report, the organization reported that Detroit ranks No.1 in unmarried births among the nations 50 largest cities. Of the 16,729 babies born in Detroit in 1997, 13,574 were black, 1,679 were white and 817 were Hispanic. Seventy-one percent were born to unmarried mothers. This
compared with a state average of 33 percent and a 50-city average of 43
percent.”
 
" Detroit is the worst offender on our list of America’s most dangerous cities,
thanks to a staggering rate of 1,220 violent crimes committed per 100,000 "



• Between 65% to 70% of Black children are born into single-parent, female-headed households.
• Only 47% of Black males in America graduate from high school..
• The average 17-year-old Black child has the reading and math scores of the average 14- year-old White child.
• One out of three Black boys born after 2001 will spend time in jail or prison.
• An estimated 50% of Black girls between 14- and 19- years-old have contracted a sexually transmitted disease.
• The rates of Black “kids killing kids” (KKK) and Black youth violence is increasing exponentially across America, including 12 Chicago public school children violently killed in the first 5 weeks of this new school year.
“After controlling for single motherhood, the difference between black and white crime rates disappeared.” Progressive Policy Institute, 1990, quoted by David Blankenhorn, “Fatherless America: Confronting Our Most Urgent Social Problem,” New York, Harper Perennial, 1996, p.31



   

USA: The Next Detroit
By Porter Stansberry
From the October 28, 2009, S&A Digest

Every single mayor of Detroit since 1961 has been a Democrat. Every single mayor of Detroit since 1974 has been black.
 
One of the most important things to remember about socialism – or coercion of
any kind – is it fails eventually because human beings have an innate desire for liberty and a strong need for personal property rights. In fact, the origins of government lie in the need of agricultural communities to protect themselves from violence and theft. So it is particularly ironic that in more recent times, it is government itself that has more frequently played the role of bandit.
 
When you start taxing people at extreme rates to pay for socialist “benefits,”
when you start telling them which schools their children must attend, when you
start giving jobs away to people based on race instead of ability… you quash
human freedom, which bogs down productivity. .. and if continued for long
enough, leads to social collapse.
 
I find it perplexing that only 20 years after the collapse of the Berlin Wall,
the West continues to implement laws that mimic all of the failed policies of
our former “communist” foes. In fact, our current president won the election by
promising to “spread the wealth around.” But… truth be told… we don’t have
to look to Eastern Europe or the Soviet Union to find a society destroyed by
coercion, socialism, and the overreaching power of the State. We could just look at Detroit…
 
In 1961, the last Republican mayor of Detroit lost his re-election bid to a
young, intelligent Democrat, with the overwhelming support of newly organized
black voters. His name was Jerome Cavanagh. The incumbent was widely considered
to be corrupt (and later served 10 years in prison for tax evasion). Cavanagh, a white man, pandered to poor underclass black voters.
 
He marched with Martin Luther King down the streets of Detroit in 1963. (Of
course, marching with King was the right thing to do… It’s just Cavanagh’s
motives were political not moral.) He instated aggressive affirmative action
policies at City Hall. And most critically, he greatly expanded the role of the
government in Detroit, taking advantage of President Lyndon Johnson’s “Model
Cities Program” – the first great experiment in centralized urban planning.
 
Mayor Cavanagh was the only elected official to serve on Johnson’s task force.
And Detroit received widespread acclaim for its leadership in the program, which attempted to turn a nine-square- mile section of the city (with 134,000
inhabitants) into a “model city.” More than $400 million was spent trying to
turn inner cities into shining new monuments to government planning. In short,
the feds and Democratic city mayors were soon telling people where to live, what to build, and what businesses to open or close. In return, the people received cash, training, education, and health care.
 
 
The Model Cities program was a disaster for Detroit. But it did accomplish its
real goal: The creation of a state-supported, Democratic political power base.
The program also resulted in much higher taxes – which were easy to pitch to
poor voters who didn’t have to pay them. Cavanagh pushed a new income tax
through the state legislature and a “commuter tax” on city workers.
 
Unfortunately, as with all socialist programs, lots of folks simply don’t like
being told what to do. Lots of folks don’t like being plundered by the
government. They don’t like losing their jobs because of their race.
 
In Detroit, they didn’t like paying new, large taxes to fund a largely black and Democratic political hegemony. And so, in 1966, more than 22,000 middle- and upper-class residents moved out of the city.
 
But what about the poor? As my friend Doug Casey likes to say, in the War on
Poverty, the poor lost the most. In July 1967, police attempted to break up a
late-night party in the middle of the new “Model City.” The scene turned into
the worst race riot of the 1960s. The violence killed more than 40 people and
left more than 5,000 people homeless. One of the first stores to be looted was
the black-owned pharmacy.
 
The largest black-owned clothing store in the city was also burned to the
ground. Cavanagh did nothing to stop the riots, fearing a large police presence
would make matters worse. Five days later, Johnson sent in two divisions of
paratroopers to put down the insurrection. Over the next 18 months, an
additional 140,000 upper- and middle-class residents – almost all of them white
– left the city.
 
And so, you might rightfully ask… after five years of centralized planning,
higher taxes, and a fleeing population, what did the government decide to do
with its grand experiment, its “Model City”? You’ll never guess…
 
Seeing it had accomplished nothing but failure, the government endeavored to do
still more. The Model City program was expanded and enlarged by 1974’s Community Development Block Grant Program. Here again, politicians would decide which groups (and even individuals) would receive state funds for various “renewal” schemes. Later, Big Business was brought into the fold. In exchange for various concessions, the Big Three automakers “gave” $488 million to the city for use in still more redevelopment schemes in the mid-1990s.
 
What happened? Even with all of their power and all of the money, centralized
planners couldn’t succeed with any of their plans. Nearly all of the upper and
middle class left Detroit. The poor fled, too. The Model City area lost 63% of
its population and 45% of its housing units from the inception of the program
through 1990.
 
Even today, the crisis continues. At a recent auction of nearly 9,000 seized
homes and lots, less than one-fifth of the available properties sold, even with
bidding starting at $500. You literally can’t give away most of the “Model City” areas today. The properties put up for sale last week represented an area the size of New York’s Central Park. Total vacant land in Detroit now occupies an area the size of Boston – Detroit properties in foreclosure have more than
tripled since 2007.
 
Every single mayor of Detroit since 1961 has been a Democrat. Every single mayor of Detroit since 1974 has been black. Detroit has been a major recipient of every major social program since the early 1960s and has received hundreds of billions of dollars in government grants, loans, and programs. We now have a
black, Democrat president, who is promising to do to America as a whole what his political mentors have done to Detroit.
 
Those of you with a Democratic political affiliation may think what I’ve written above is biased or false. You may think what you like. But there is no way to argue that what the government has done to Detroit is anything but a horrendous crime. You may think what I’ve written above is merely a political analysis. Perhaps so, but politicians drive macroeconomic policy. And macroeconomic policy determines key financial metrics, like the trade-weighted value of a currency and key interest rates.
 
The likelihood America will become a giant Detroit is growing – rapidly.
Politicians now control the banking sector, most of the manufacturing sector
(including autos), a large amount of media, and are threatening to take over
health care and the production of electricity (via cap and trade rules). These
are the biggest threats to wealth in the history of our country. And these
threats are causing the world’s most accomplished and wealthy investors to
actively short sell the United States – something that is unprecedented in my
experience.
 
Regards,
 
Porter Stansberry

 
Why Kids Don’t Do Well in School
January 22, 2010 by Phyllis Schlafly
 
Let me share with you an interesting article from the Washington Post about the
teacher of an all-black class in a high school in Alexandria, Virginia, who
expressed his frustration at how poorly the students were performing. The class
included both native-born African-Americans and kids who had immigrated from
Africa. In a moment of exasperation, the teacher blurted out this question to the native-born students: “Why don’t you guys study like the kids from Africa?” One of them shot back the answer.
 
The kid replied, “It’s because they have fathers who kick their butts and make
them study.” Another student called out: “Ask the class, just ask how many of us have our fathers living with us.”
 
The teacher did ask the class, and not one hand went up. The students had
figured out, even if school teachers and administrators are still in the dark,
that the essential difference between kids who make it in school, and those who
don’t, is whether they have their father in the home.
 
It isn’t a matter of race; the African-Americans and the Africans are the same
race. It isn’t because the school doesn’t have enough money; this school has so
much money that it gives every student a laptop of his own.
 
The basic problem is the lack of fathers in the home. And why didn’t these kids
have fathers in the home?
 
For the majority of them, the reason is the liberal welfare system which
transformed the people who were given “free” money called “welfare” into a
society of single moms. In this matriarchy, fathers were made unnecessary, even
an impediment to the flow of taxpayer handouts.
 
Now we see the terrible consequences of what Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously
predicted in 1965 when Lyndon Johnson started his Great Society spending.
Welfare reform was passed in 1996 and even signed by Bill Clinton, but President Obama had those reforms repealed in his Stimulus bill last year.

The anti-marriage feminists are unwilling to fault the matriarchal society, and
so the academic feminists keep looking for other causes of poor grades by
minority students. An outfit called the Race, Culture, Class and Gender Task
Group is trying to get the University of Minnesota to make race, class and
gender the “overarching framework” of all teacher education coursework.
This busybody Task Group is part of the University’s Teacher Education Redesign
Initiative, which is premised on the notion that Minnesota teachers’ lack of
“cultural competence” contributes to the poor academic performance of minority
students. The plan would require teachers to be re-educated so they will teach
Minnesota minority kids that America is an oppressive, racist, sexist,
homophobic country.
 
According to the final report of the Race, Culture, Class and Gender Task Group
last year, in order to effectively teach a diverse class of students, teachers
must understand how “white privilege, hegemonic masculinity, heteronormativity,
and internalized oppression” have impacted their thinking.

The report demands that teachers be trained to instruct students on the U.S.
“myth of meritocracy, " the “history of white racism,” and “demands for
assimilation to white, middle-class, Christian meanings and values.”

This Task Force even has plans to browbeat into submission those who don’t
accept these new liberal dictates. The Task Force calls on the University to
develop “a remediation plan” for non-performing students and teachers.

Such outlandish proposals have not gone unnoticed. The Foundation for
Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) accuses these re-education plans of
violating “the freedom of conscience of the university’s students,” and the
American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) charges that these plans “ignore
academic goals and lead to a politicized determination of who is qualified to be a teacher.”

The University of Minnesota may pretend to back off from the more outrageous of
these proposals, but they are totally in sync with William Ayers’ “social
justice” teaching and the more recent buzz word “cultural competence.” The
bottom line is to teach the younger generation that they are victims of an
oppressive and unjust America, and that they should organize and demonstrate (a
la Saul Alinsky) to take power and money away from those who have those things.
 
Another ominous straw in the wind is Obama’s appointment of six way-out
radicals to the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and
Integrity (NACIQI), whose mission is to evaluate whether accrediting agencies
are properly assessing the quality of colleges and universities. The appointees
are the sort of Obama extremists who will be likely to try to enforce diversity
mandates and social engineering on institutions seeking accreditation.
 
The most important thing schools should do to for minority (and other)
schoolchildren is to teach them how to read by phonics in the first grade. They
could do this inexpensively with my First Reader, and if the schools refuse,
this book is the perfect tool for parents to teach their own children.
 
Further reading:
 
* ‘Social Justice’: Code Word for Anti-Americanism
Phyllis Schlafly Report, Jan. 2009
 
 
* Decoding Teacher Training
by KC Johnson, 11-30-09
 
 
* At U, future teachers may be reeducated: They must denounce exclusionary biases and embrace the vision. (Or else.)
by Katherine Kersten, 12-02-09

Posted by Lucky
Tuesday, July 03, 2012 09:35

TO! City Council!, the Mayor!, local Police!, DEA! ,so called Gang Task Force, and to the rest of the clown leadership in Detroit, you could do better, should do better and should be ashamed. A whole generation of hopelesness sure did not come from these children alone. The seeds were planted by the so called leaders, the stage was set and now the cast members are playing out their parts as if it were an old black and white movie. Oh’ there are no white actors just the police, the politicians, the directors the and producers. If these were white kids that were being scraped off the side walk every day, every angency in the world would step up an take an active role in trying to stop such madness. What do you think is gonna happen, there are no leaders, anymore. You all are failing our youth, not just black and latino. Police are happy these children killing each other…Or prehaps sad, with each loss of young black life at the hands of another, they were not able to utilize their skilled marksmanship. I’VE LOST ALL HOPE,FAITH AND RESPECT,IN OUR SO CALL LEADERS AND POLITICIANS.

Posted by Paul Clements
Wednesday, June 27, 2012 06:27

It would be funny to listen to the liberal prattling about the problem of teen violence, if it weren’t so serious a problem. Their whacky ideas and illogical utterances are downright dumb. First they cause a problem, then they get their panties in a twist discussing what to do about it. The source of the problem is clear, and the solution is simple. Listen to these children:
  Why Kids Don’t Do Well in School
January 22, 2010 by Phyllis Schlafly
 
“Let me share with you an interesting article from the Washington Post about the
teacher of an all-black class in a high school in Alexandria, Virginia, who
expressed his frustration at how poorly the students were performing. The class
included both native-born African-Americans and kids who had immigrated from
Africa. In a moment of exasperation, the teacher blurted out this question to the native-born students: “Why don’t you guys study like the kids from Africa?” One of them shot back the answer.
 
The kid replied, “It’s because they have fathers who kick their butts and make
them study.” Another student called out: “Ask the class, just ask how many of us have our fathers living with us.”
 
The teacher did ask the class, and not one hand went up. The students had
figured out, even if school teachers and administrators are still in the dark,
that the essential difference between kids who make it in school, and those who
don’t, is whether they have their father in the home.
 
It isn’t a matter of race; the African-Americans and the Africans are the same
race. It isn’t because the school doesn’t have enough money; this school has so
much money that it gives every student a laptop of his own.
 
The basic problem is the lack of fathers in the home. And why didn’t these kids
have fathers in the home?
 
For the majority of them, the reason is the liberal welfare system which
transformed the people who were given “free” money called “welfare” into a
society of single moms. In this matriarchy, fathers were made unnecessary, even
an impediment to the flow of taxpayer handouts"

FURTHERMORE, take a look at these statistics:
“The strongest predictor of whether a person will end up in prison, is that they were raised by a single parent”. C.C. Harper and S.S. McLanahan, “Father Absence and Youth Incarceration”, Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Assoc., San Francisco, CA, 1998

In 1996, 70% of inmates in state juvenile detention centers serving long sentences, were raised by single mothers. Wade Horn, “Why There Is No Substitute For Parents”, IMPRIMIS 26, NO.6, June, 1997

72% of juvenile murderers, and 60% of rapists came from single mother homes. Chuck Colson, “How Shall We Live?” Tyndale House , 2004, p.323

“After controlling for single motherhood, the difference between black and white crime rates disappeared.” Progressive Policy Institute, 1990, quoted by David Blankenhorn, “Fatherless America: Confronting Our Most Urgent Social Problem,” New York, Harper Perennial, 1996, p.31

“(I)n a recent study by the Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation. Comparing statistics for its Kids Count report, the organization reported that Detroit ranks No.1 in unmarried births among the nations’ 50 largest cities. Of the 16,729 babies born in Detroit in 1997, 13,574 were black, 1,679 were white and 817 were Hispanic. Seventy-one percent were born to unmarried mothers. This compared with a state average of 33 percent and a 50-city average of 43 percent.”
 
Detroit is the worst offender on our list of America’s most dangerous cities, thanks to a staggering rate of 1,220 violent crimes committed per 100,000. "

As long as our family courts continue to turn out fatherless kids, and the federal government offers monetary incentives for divorce and non-marriage, we will turn out teen criminals faster than we can apprehend and incarcerate them. FATHERS WORK, WELFARE DOESN’T!

Posted by JPH
Friday, June 22, 2012 01:19

It is nice to hear about remarkable people like Officer Monica Evans and programs like Operation Safe Passage that are helping vulnerable youth. Keep up the commendable work!

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