Detroit is considered one of the most dangerous cities in the nation. A recent decision by the Detroit Police Department will close certain precincts within the city to the public from 4 p.m. to 8 a.m. every day. The closings cause a concern for the safety of Detroit residents. If residents truly don’t use the precincts during those hours and don’t have a legitimate need for them, closing the precincts for a large part of the day may save Detroit a significant amount of money. However, before a decision that could negatively affect citizens is made, police officials should conduct thorough research with the safety of the community in mind.

Detroit Police Department precincts and districts in certain parts of the city will be closed to the public from 4 p.m. to 8 a.m. every day beginning on Monday. Several clerical jobs, including report clerk, desk clerk and timekeeper, will be eliminated. The officers currently holding these positions will be returning to street patrol. The program is scheduled to be expanded city-wide next month.

Before deciding to eliminate 24-hour precincts, the city should conduct comprehensive research to determine if there is a need for them. If residents use the precincts and want them open all the time, the city should not close them. The purpose of the police force is to protect and serve the community. If residents feel they need a precinct to be open for 24 hours a day, then they have a right to have that service.

The police department has proposed a switch to virtual precincts. The idea of switching to virtual precincts has the potential to be a viable solution. If the technology is in place for residents to file complaints and perform other tasks online instead of at a physical precinct, the option could prove to be a money-saver for the cash-strapped city of Detroit.

It’s commendable that Detroit is not completely eliminating the jobs at the shuttered precincts. Returning officers to the street serves as a win-win situation for residents and officers. Since Detroit is a dangerous city, more street patrols could deter crime and increase the safety of residents. These officers will also stay employed, so they won’t add to Detroit’s already high unemployment rate.

Closing Detroit police precincts has both positives and negatives. The hours of the day when the precincts will close tend to be when most crimes occur, so the virtual precinct system should be flawless before it’s implemented. If the safety of Detroit residents is compromised in any way by closing the precincts, they should remain open around the clock. Though residents will not be able to receive services at the physical locations, the move will place officers back on the street, where they can better protect residents. If the residents of Detroit want the precincts to remain open for 24 hours, and have demonstrated a need for it, they should have that right.

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