I began a periodic documentation of the ongoing sorrows of Detroit Michigan last summer, right after I stated this news blog. I had discovered several Michigan based blogs which were documenting the disintegration of a large 40 block section of the dying city in explicit photo essays. The jaw dropping pictures and video clips were dreadful to take in: row after row of crumbling, rotting, dilapidated mansions, abandoned homes by the hundreds, if not thousands, entire city blocks which had deteriorated into deathly urban ruins. It was mind boggling.
HOW does this happen in America?
WHY did it happen in Detroit?
But of course it’s worse than that now. Recently more dire news out of Detroit broke via ABC’s 20/20 TV current events documentary series that more than 12,000 unsolved rape cases have languished in the bowels of law enforcement departments in Detroit, evidence stacked in boxes from floor to ceiling for decades, literally, and either no one caring enough or not enough funds to proceed with trying to solve them and prosecute the perpetrators.
To be a young black woman trying to cope on the streets of Detroit must be it’s own hall of horrors. It makes the soul shudder.
“In fact, an investigation by 20/20 has uncovered a dirty little secret of law enforcement, unknown to victims and their families. Hundreds of thousands of rape evidence kits sit unprocessed on dusty shelves in police storage rooms around the country simply because police say they can’t afford the cost of processing them, which is on average no more than $500 per kit.
Safir, who is now a consultant to a company that owns a DNA lab, was stunned to learn that when he was in office, his department was one of the worst culprits, but by no means the only one.
“That’s outrageous,” said Safir. “It says to a woman who’s a victim: We don’t care.”
Safir said he found out about his department’s predicament when Barry Scheck, a prominent defense attorney, came to see him and told him there were 12,000 unanalyzed rape kits sitting on the shelves of the police department’s storage facility.
“I thought he was insane, and I looked into it,” said Safir. “I didn’t have 12,000. I had 16,000.”
What’s worse, nationwide Safir estimated that there are at least a half million unanalyzed rape kits that, if processed, could turn out tens of thousands of suspects. I have pondered this awful fact and I actually wonder if one of the reasons these backlogged rape kits are not being processed is that the number of convictions they might result in could overwhelm an already bulging and overcrowded penal system in the US. In other words, if all of the alleged rapists in the United States were caught and prosecuted, there might not be enough prison space to hold them.
If you wondered why gun ownership in the US among women is soaring, stop and think about it. The chances of a rapist actually being caught and prosecuted are so low in cities like Detroit, or Saint Louis, or Stockton California, a woman who walks city streets had better be well armed to defend herself from attacks, because law enforcement of the crime of rape is literally falling away.
Adding to the burden upon Detroit law enforcement are the burgeoning numbers of missing person and “Jane Doe” cases. Bloggers can aid law enforcement by publishing any helpful leads, missing person photos, or crime solving tips. It will take the concerted efforts of the entire country to help Detroit address their unsolved crime problem. It’s not just Detroit’s problem. It’s every American’s problem. What spills out of Detroit today could be in your backyard tomorrow, putting pressure on already strained law enforcement agencies in other American cities. Share and RT this post on your own social networks. Thanks.