4 found slain in Detroit home; homicides spiking

DETROIT (AP) - December 5, 2012

Officers found the bodies Tuesday night in a home in an east-side neighborhood, Detroit police Sgt. Eren Stephens said. Police did not disclose the names of those killed, in which house they were found or whether they had any suspects.

Stephens said more would be known about the victims and how they died once the medical examiner's officer performed autopsies.

The block where the bodies were discovered has about two dozen two-story homes. Like many Detroit neighborhoods, several of the homes are vacant. On the front door of one vacant home, someone affixed a sign that reads: "This building is being watched."

Carla Collins, 49, said that in August, she and some of her neighbors formed the "Tacoma Street Block Club," a neighborhood watch, because suspicious activity in the area spiked when an abandoned building across the street from her home became a "dope house."

"This was a quiet neighborhood," said Collins, who moved there three years ago.

The killings were the latest in what has been a particularly violent year in Detroit. The city announced last week that homicides rose this year, reaching 354 through Thanksgiving after totaling 344 for all of 2011.

At a news conference Wednesday, Mayor Dave Bing said safety was a top priority and announced that 13 police mini-stations would open throughout the city by the end of the winter.

"We heard you," Bing said, referring to citizens' complaints that police officers sometimes are hard to find on the streets.

The mini-stations will be situated in recreation centers, shopping centers and other sites, and each location will be staffed with a permanent officer, a police reservist and a community volunteer.

Six were open on Wednesday, two are to debut by the end of the month and the remaining five will be in place by March.

"For way too long, no doubt about it, there's just too much crime in our city," Bing said.

Interim Police Chief Chester Logan said he was a mini-station officer years ago and referred to Detroit as a "pioneer" in the community policing concept. But, Logan said, the city gravitated away from the mini-station idea in the 1970s as Detroit's population began to decline and public funds became scarce.

"I'm so excited that the mayor approved this concept," Logan told reporters at the Butzel Family Center, home to one of the newly reopened mini-stations.

Bing said the mini-stations will be "much more than a place to report crime."

"You're going to get to know each other," the mayor said, referring to the sometimes strained relationship between residents and law enforcement in the city.

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