Saturday, June 16, 2007

Operation Eight Mile

Originally posted by Nadir at


21 area law enforcement agencies have just completed Operation Eight Mile, three days of military-style police maneuvers along the 8 Mile Road corridor from the Detroit area suburbs of Harper Woods to Farmington Hills, Michigan. This unprecedented show of force - complete with tanks and helicopters - netted 289 arrests.

Police impounded 109 vehicles, made 122 arrests for narcotics and morality crimes, seized 1,460 grams of marijuana and 187 grams of cocaine, 19 guns and $20,375 in cash. Officers also arrested 22 fugitives who were wanted on warrants.

Police officials said the operation resulted in the most arrests, perhaps in history, of any regional sweep.

The campaign didn’t just target the hardened criminal element. Officers wrote 512 tickets the first day of the operation, just to show the average area resident that they meant business.

“I see Operation Eight Mile as an opportunity to get the police and community together to make the area safer,” said Wayne County Sheriff Warren Evans, whose department coordinated the effort.

“A safe and vibrant Eight Mile corridor is critical to the region as well as to the image and perception of the area people have around the country.”

Military-styled operations like this certainly add to the image and perception of Detroit just a few short weeks ahead of the 40th anniversary of the Detroit Rebellion of 1967. The State sends a strong message that they will protect the mythical dividing line that separates “the Haves” of the northern suburbs and “the Have-Nots” in Detroit.

In many ways those “Have-Nots” are being further isolated by the powers that be with water shut-offs, high taxes and now police-state tactics. The crime that plagues Detroit is symptomatic of its status as one of the poorest big cities in the country. Yet no one seems to be attacking that poverty like they attack the city’s residents themselves.

Officials promise more sweeps of this kind in the future. Operation Eight Mile was a symbolic demonstration of authority. “They” don’t want anyone to forget who is boss.

Detroit News: Police crack down on 8 Mile


Blogger Paul Hue said...

I see little downside here. 8 Mile is a mess, full of people making very bad -- and UNNECESSARY -- decisions. It matters little to me that this dragnet extended on both ends into the white areas; what matters to me is that it a targeted high-crime area (I suppose they swept through the safe areas west of Detroit just to avoid charges of racism). If they hadn't done this, people could say that authorities don't care about the crime, just leaving the non-criminal majority in this area to their prayers, luck, and self-defense.

Of course I agree with you, Nadir, that most of this crime would evaporate simply by legalizing drugs and prostitution, and that in the absence of legalization, such crime will never abate. But I don't share your blame on outside agencies for "failing to address poverty", but rather these impoverished people themselves for failing to make better use of the opportunities that they do have; none of them has to respond to their circumstances by harming others.

June 19, 2007 12:59 PM  
Blogger Paul Hue said...

This article claims that the dragnet extended west of Detroit all the way to I-275.

June 19, 2007 1:00 PM  
Blogger Kurt said...

C'mon Nadir, this is unfounded rhetoric at it's best. (Referencing only the last few lines of your article) There has to be a point in your life where you realize that the actions of man cannot always be excused by environment. Someone has to start taking responsibilty for these crimes, why not the people who are committing them? There is no attempt to divide, only an attempt to protect both sides of the street. After all, look at all of the arrests they made. And you're saying that's a BAD thing?

Added to this, if it did extend all the way to I-275 (the link is dead), your insinuations are false as this would then include all of Redford, Livonia, Northville, Farmington, and Plymouth which are predominantly white. Paul has it right, this isn't a race issue, it's one of statistics.

June 21, 2007 1:50 PM  
Blogger Nadir said...

Kurt and Paul,

I don't characterize this as a race issue, but as a class issue. I would like to see a breakdown of how many arrests were made in each town though. I'd bet more were made in Detroit and Highland Park.

These broad sweeps usually catch a lot of people who are in the wrong place at the wrong time. The same has been true of roadblocks on Jefferson Street in Nashville and raids of certain parts of town.

How many of those picked up for outstanding warrants were for parking tickets? We don't know.

I'm not saying there isn't crime in those areas, but come on, y'all. Tanks?? Knowing that the police can use military vehicles in my neighborhood doesn't make me feel safer. I worry more about them than I do the crime. I know a lot of people in that neighborhood who feel the same.

June 21, 2007 2:16 PM  
Blogger Paul Hue said...

I very much want to hear more from working adults in those areas, on their view of this issue. These are the people who are moving in droves out of Detroit into the subburbs, and their main reason is the behavior of people around them, either outright crime, or just low living (goofing off in school, making unwed babies, etc.).

June 29, 2007 11:03 AM  

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