By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — The city’s crime rate has gone down 20 percent year to date, but that firearms-related offenses are up 130 percent since June, Police Chief Ronald Haddad said.
During a press conference July 21 at the Dearborn Administrative Center, 16901 Michigan Ave., Haddad explained why he believed firearms-related offenses have increased.
“I don’t have to tell you that there are more guns in America then people right now,” he said. “I think that people are genuinely in fear because of the obvious hate and hostility that exists in our country, to be very honest about it. So there are a lot of guns out there.
“I just want to caution our citizens to use the best judgement when they carry a weapon, make sure that you’re licensed and if you are stopped by the police it would be better to tell them its there before we discover it.”
From Jan. 1 to July 17 there were 106 firearms-related offenses compared to 85 from Jan. 1 to July 17 in 2019 for a 24.7 percent increase. The Police Department provided information on the same offenses from June 1 to July 17 which was 46 in comparison to 20 from June 1 to July 17 in 2019 for a total 130 percent increase.
Haddad said the guns on display at the press conference were taken off the streets since the beginning of the year and that some of those guns were reported stolen but that most were not.
He also said that police officers took 12 guns off the street last week and two more the night before the press conference.
When asked about police officers wearing masks and crime rates during the coronavirus, Haddad said officers have been equipped since March 1 and when the pandemic hit it balanced off the soft winter and crime went down again.
“In early March we got together with the mayor and fire chief to set up contingency planning to find resources to test our people, particularly our law enforcement community,” Haddad said. “As a result we had partnered with CVS, people in Lansing and the National Guard to set up a center behind the Henry Ford Centennial Library where 25,000 of our regional residents were checked for COVID.”
Haddad said about 8 percent tested positive and 2,000 tests were run on regional police, fire and EMS to keep them on the street and healthy.
“I couldn’t be more grateful for the mayor and his leadership on that because he gave us permission early on and backing financially to pursue the rapid testing machine and had we not got into that early in March none of this other stuff would’ve happened,” he said.
“Additionally, there have been about 30 food giveaways all over the city and we have also served as a distribution point for FEMA national stock pile for the region. Also, we had a secondary — I’ll call it a field hospital — in the event of if our hospital got overrun and it was a good test to make sure we’re capable of doing it although we virtually had little use for it but we’re still prepared.”
Toward the end of the press conference Haddad emphasized wearing masks in public, as required by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order.
“Today, we continue to educate the public and again the most important thing right now is to continue to wear the masks and take all the other CDC recommendations to heart,” he said. “Our city has faired much better than some parts of the region but we didn’t start that way, we were spiked as high as anyone in the state. Again, it’s a tribute to the cooperation and compliance that we get from our citizens here.”
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])