The Detroit Crime Commission: sounds official, doesn’t it? And while the men and women behind this outfit are indeed dead serious about their jobs, don’t mistake the official sounding title for an agency of any local, state or federal government. The Detroit Crime Commission is a 503(c)(3) organization that’s designed to fill in the gaps that overworked and underfunded law enforcement agencies may overlook. It’s staffed with former law enforcement officials, prosecutors and beat cops that have extensive experience in all aspects of investigation and enforcement.
The two key players in the newly-created organization are Andrew Arena, a Detroit native and FBI veteran, and Ron Reddy, another FBI veteran. The DCC came into being after a series of investigations prompted some realizations amongst local attorneys and local law enforcement officials in late 2011. The idea for the DCC has been embraced both by top brass within the local political, economic and law enforcement communities, and the support the DCC has since received substantial support, both financial and political.
The DCC picks up where law enforcement stops. If local prosecutors or investigators, for whatever reason, don’t pursue a particular matter, such as neighborhood blight, fraud rackets or protecting witnesses to violent crimes, that’s where the DCC liases with the relevant local actors, and crafts a solution that targets the underlying issue, whatever it may be. As it’s a private organization that’s staffed with some of the best available names in the business, they usually have the most effective and innovative solutions to offer.
There’s going to be some people who, just by their nature, oppose the idea of a Detroit Crime Commission. It’s to be expected. But the fact of the matter remains that the city of Detroit experiences much more crime than it actually should. Critics will decry this as an effort which will effectively privatize local law enforcement, and in some ways, there’s a bit of truth to that. Local law enforcement should be able to perform all of these activities that the DCC is handling. But, in many respects, they’re unable due to either budgetary or personnel issues. And while in a perfect world, this wouldn’t be the case, the DCC is, pardon the pun, taking a bite out of crime in the meantime.
The solution isn’t perfect, but very little in life ever is. While the authorities sort out the myriad of problems that’s plagued the region for several decades, this will function as a much-needed backstop that has the potential to do a lot of good, that’s needed very badly, until we figure out how best to proceed in the long-term future.