Via the Free Beacon, yet another example of police chief James Craig’s endorsement of handguns for self-defense bearing fruit. The human-interest story is the draw here but the important part is the crime stats cited near the end. We already knew that murders and robberies in Detroit dropped last year; turns out break-ins are also way, way down now, even compared to last year’s improved numbers. Some of that is due to more cops on the beat and more efficient policing under Craig’s leadership: PD response times to emergency 911 calls in Detroit have dropped from 58 minutes(!!) before he took over to 17 minutes now. That’s good news, but not so useful if you’re a homeowner waking up at 3 a.m. to a burglar at the foot of the bed. Craig himself said last summer “there’s no question” in his mind that part of the drop in crime is due to growing awareness among criminals that more law-abiding Detroiters are packing. Simple economics: If the potential cost of committing a crime rises, the demand for crime will fall. Here’s the latest illustration.

This isn’t just a Detroit phenomenon either. NPR, of all outlets, noticed in April that black Americans increasingly support carrying guns for self-defense:

According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, 54 percent of blacks now see gun ownership as a good thing, something more likely to protect than harm. That’s up from 29 percent just two years ago. In places like Detroit, more African-Americans are getting permits to carry concealed weapons.

At a practice range just outside of Detroit, Rick Ector trains new gun owners. He says the new chief’s attitude is a welcome change…

Ector thinks African-Americans nationally have been slower to embrace concealed-carry because so many of them live in places where it’s still more restricted. Both Chief Craig and Ector are black.

“When you look at New Jersey, you look at New York, you look at California, D.C. and Chicago, really it’s still a foreign experience,” he says. “When you really look at the city of Detroit, we’re kind of leading the way in terms of urban areas with law-abiding citizens carrying guns.”

Makes me wonder what sort of trend in gun ownership other cities are seeing right now. Crime rates are up and citizens in New York and Baltimore, at least, have had to cope with police “slowdowns” in response to public criticism about excessive force. Rarely has the need for a gun been stronger in recent years than it is right now in high-crime neighborhoods. The process of applying for a permit in NYC, though, is still onerous, even in a post-Heller legal landscape. That process will be challenged in court eventually. Maybe what’s happening in Detroit will nudge SCOTUS towards further liberalization.

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