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Police outline warm-weather plans for patrolling Greektown, other Detroit spots

Detroit — The heads of the city's two largest law enforcement agencies Friday announced they will work together to try to curb the violence, drag racing and other problems that have surfaced during recent summers.

Among the announced efforts: The fourth year since 2018 of extra summertime patrols in Greektown, the downtown enclave that's been the site of multiple problems going back more than a decade.

Detroit Police Chief James White and Wayne County Sheriff Raphael Washington announced the partnership during a press conference in Greektown. Police officers and sheriff's deputies plan to enforce city ordinances that cover drag racing, curfews for minors and parental responsibility for minors.

"What we're doing is a proactive approach," White said. "If you carry an illegal gun ... or allow your child to be out at night, that's a problem."

White said "too many" underage kids are allowed to roam around Greektown after the curfew, which for 16- and 17-year-olds runs from 10 p.m.-6 a.m. every day but Saturday, when the curfew is from 11 p.m.-6 a.m. For kids ages 15 and under, the city curfew is from 8 p.m.-6 a.m.

"It's become the new mall," White said of Greektown. "Kids used to go to the malls to hang out; this is the new place for young people — and that's okay ... come down and have a good time, but leave your illegal guns at home."

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There were five shooting victims downtown last weekend, including three who were wounded in a shootout. Detroit police officer shot one of the men involved in the shootout. Michigan State Police are investigating the incident.

White said shell casings from seven different firearms were recovered from the scene. Five guns were recovered, he said.

In the other shooting, two "innocent bystanders" were injured, White said.

None of the five victims' injuries were life-threatening, he said.

White said the volume of people who visit Greektown and other downtown sites during weekends is a "good problem to have."

"There are a lot of things to do, and this is a hub of people," White said. "That's what we want ..., but people have a right to enjoy themselves without having to worry about violent crime."

Last year, the extra patrols in Greektown and other areas of the city were announced four days after a video was posted on social media that showed officers breaking up a series of brawls near Monroe and Beaubien.

That followed extra police patrols in 2018 and 2019 in response to high-profile shootings and brawls. In 2020, police said the extra patrols weren't necessary, since most of the businesses were under COVID-19 restrictions and not fully operational.

Also during Friday's press briefing, White and Washington displayed portable metal detectors that they said will be deployed in Greektown and throughout the city.

"These can be taken to the neighborhoods, such as block parties, where things sometimes go bad," Washington said. "These will help the citizens feel safe."

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Twitter: @GeorgeHunter_DN