A tiny microcosm of what can happen when people take personal protection into their own hands, and have the backing of police, is playing out in Detroit where crime has steeply fallen this year after the Chief of police urged citizens to arm themselves, and fight back against criminals. But a necessary part of this is that honest citizens are not being pursued by law enforcement for protecting themselves when in danger. This means instead of trying to balance the fear for ones safety with the fear of prosecution, citizens can focus on protecting their life and property—and criminals apparently seem to be getting the message.
Detroit has experienced 37 percent fewer robberies in 2014 than during the same period last year, 22 percent fewer break-ins of businesses and homes, and 30 percent fewer carjackings. Craig attributed the drop to better police work and criminals being reluctant to prey on citizens who may be carrying guns.
“Criminals are getting the message that good Detroiters are armed and will use that weapon,” said [Police Chief] Craig, who has repeatedly said he believes armed citizens deter crime. “I don’t want to take away from the good work our investigators are doing, but I think part of the drop in crime, and robberies in particular, is because criminals are thinking twice that citizens could be armed.
Police solving crimes is a deterrent, but a crime can be thwarted by an intended victim shooting the perpetrator during the crime. This in turn serves as a deterrent to others who see that they could end up dead if they victimize any random citizen. In this way, armed citizens make everyone in Detroit safer, not just because they could be on scene when a crime happens, but because the criminal doesn’t know who is packing heat, and who is helpless.
Detroit resident Al Woods, a self-described former criminal who is now an anti-violence advocate and author, agreed criminals are thinking twice about attacking citizens.
“If I was out there now robbing people these days, knowing there are a lot more people with guns, I know I’d have to rethink my game plan,” said Woods, 60.
It is rare to have a police Chief like Craig encourage citizens to take their safety into their own hands, especially in an urban setting. There is no better solution to crime in Detroit right now, especially with the dire economic state it is in. Kudos to this police chief, the results, and the armed citizens who don’t outsource their protection to a third party.