The chief of Detroit police credited legally armed residents for a substantial decrease in crime in a city that desperately needs it.
“Criminals are getting the message that good Detroiters are armed and will use that weapon,” said chief James Craig, according to The Detroit News.
“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.”
According to The Detroit News, there have been 37 percent fewer robberies, 22 percent fewer break-ins and 30 percent fewer carjackings this so far in 2014 compared to the same period last year.
“I can’t say what specific percentage is caused by this, but there’s no question in my mind it has had an effect,” Craig said.
The chief cited fewer stories of Detroit homeowners having to fire weapons at intruders as evidence that criminals are getting the message.
The Motor City has been the poster-child of urban crisis for several decades. For various reasons the city has fallen deeply into debt, leading to what has been dubbed a “death spiral” of cutbacks to public services and increasing crime.
Craig’s pro-self-defense comments are not new. He was featured in a National Rifle Association publication earlier this year and has made other statements to the press claiming that an armed citizenry helps deter crime.
In his remarks, Craig distinguished between the effects of gun ownership among law-abiding citizens and ownership among criminals.
“[Criminals] automatically assume another criminal is carrying,” Craig said. “I’m talking about criminals who are thinking of robbing a citizen; they’re less likely to do so if they think they might be armed.”
Al Woods, an ex-criminal in the city, backed Craig’s claims.
“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,” Woods told The Detroit News.