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Detroit Police credit citizen group, anonymous hotlines with arrest

Detroit Police say they’ve made an arrest in a murder case that sparked what the police chief calls an “unusual level of outrage” in the community.

3-year-old Aarie Berry died after someone shot at her house last month. Police have arrested a neighbor they say was part of an ongoing dispute in the neighborhood.

Police Chief Ralph Godbee has been seeking community help as Detroit deals with a troubling spike in homicides…many of them the result of people using guns during arguments.

Godbee says in those cases, community members generally know who’s responsible. But they can be reluctant to come forward, sometimes accompanied by a sense of futility.

“Where we have an issue is when we start to accept our fate. As if that’s the way Detroit is. And that’s not the Detroit I know, it’s not the Detroit I love, it’s not reflective of the populace of Detroit.”

Godbee praised a neighborhood patrol group, Detroit 300, for repeatedly canvassing the neighborhood and urging people with information to contact police or anonymous tip lines.

Angelo Henderson is with the neighborhood patrol group Detroit 300.

Detroit 300 member Angelo Henderson says many Detroit residents don’t feel comfortable talking to police. But they’ll talk to intermediates like members of his group, and use tools like anonymous crime hotlines.

“It’s really working. Because they want to feel like they can report crime anonymously, and not feel threatened, especially in this world of retribution.”

Godbee says he hopes this will help build public trust that anonymous crime reporting is both effective and truly anonymous.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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