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Mindset must change to curb Detroit violence, McKinnon says

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By Taryn Asher
Fox 2 News


DETROIT (WJBK) -- Crime stats in Detroit are staggering.  Last year was the second deadliest year in the city's history.

"It's not shocking to be honest with you," former Detroit Police Chief Ike McKinnon remarked.

He says we didn't get here overnight, so don't expect a quick fix.  McKinnon blames the murder rate on a mindset.

"Changing a culture of violence of young people in which they don't care about taking someone's life.  The young people who are parents, who haven't changed, and they are making their young children do the same things, they're having them do the same things, so it's a scary state of affairs."

McKinnon, an education professor at U of D Mercy was the city's top cop back in the late nineties when there were more than 4,400 officers on the force.  Detroit is fighting crime now with half that number, but McKinnon believes police cannot solve this problem on their own.

"We have to look at what's happening with the family structure," he said.  "We have to look at in terms of what's happening with these children.  Why are they so violent?  Look at the drug situation and the faith-based issues that's happening in the city."

The Detroit Police Department has been criticized for not doing enough, but current chief Chester Logan feels the problem goes beyond the lack of cops and response.

"It lies with the press, it lies with the principal, it lies with the preacher, and it lies with the parent, so we have got to come together as a community and start to deal with this," he said.  "If I had a thousand more police officers, in the city of Detroit the way things are right now, I don't know what kind of impact that would have."

McKinnon says it's time for the community leaders to start leading, become mentors, teach the young people in Detroit not to solve their problems with guns and violence.  Until that mindset changes, nothing else will.

"We have to get serious about what's happening in the city."

McKinnon also says the current chief needs to be really visible right now, and another focus needs to be getting the most violent offenders off the streets and making guns less accessible.

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