Finley: Detroit was 45 minutes short of a good week

Nolan Finley
The Detroit News

Detroit came within 45 minutes this week of achieving a minor symbolic victory in its war against violent crime.

I ran into Police Chief James Craig downtown Wednesday. He was counting the minutes down to midnight, when, if there had been no homicides in the city, it would have marked one full week without a murder in Detroit.

That’s no small thing in a city that averages roughly six homicides a week.

But the chief was to be disappointed. At 11:15 p.m. Wednesday, two motorists got into a shootout on I-94 on the east side, leaving one of them dead.

“We almost made it,” Craig said. “All we needed was 45 minutes. We’ll start over.”

Craig has made reducing homicides his top priority, and Detroit is making progress at a time when big cities across the country are seeing surges in murders due to the so-called “Ferguson effect.”

Detroit had a murder-free week in February, when temperatures were bitter cold. But given this week’s warm weather, which brought more people outdoors, it would have been remarkable to have done it again.