No this isn't an article about the Lions off season.
It's old news that crime has always been an issue in Detroit. But what happens when you put the crime statistics next to the performance or even presence of our Downtown sports teams?
As people living outside the city, we tend to write off crime in Detroit as black on black or gang-related violence. It's not a good way of thinking of it, that's just how we try to make ourselves feel safe in Detroit. We're now starting to see it spread to anyone "dumb" enough to venture into the city. Cab drivers, gas station employees, CLERGY! And the crimes seem to be trending towards the more violent end of the spectrum.
Could lack of a police presence along with the influx of revenue for local businesses that come with a successful season be to blame for the inflated crime rate in the city?
How many police can you count on an off night in the city when there's no games or big shows? A simple question would be to ask if you feel safer walking the streets of downtown Detroit after a large event, shoulder to shoulder with thousands of people of all ages, or walking alone or with a small group? I have to assume that the lack of money coming in, coupled with the absence of a police presence HAS to contribute to the swell in crime.
Let's look at the 2004-2005 and 2012-2013 Red Wings' lock-out seasons.
In the two seasons where the NHL was locked out, Detroit witnessed a spike robberies and assaults. This years stats aren't included, but you can see the trend is looking up.
via i81.photobucket.com and citydata.com
These seasons also correlate with Lions 5 and 4 win seasons respectively.
Not only did Detroit get slighted another entire season of hockey this year, but there was a number of games and events planned around the Winter Classic game in Detroit. A recent ESPN article is quoted saying "When the Winter Classic was announced, the league estimated that as many as 200,000 hockey fans would have visited Detroit for all the action downtown. The game was expected to have a $75 million impact on the region of southeast Michigan."
Think bars, restaurants, casinos, hotels, Bouzouki's
That's a lot of money trickling down in the city.
I guess we can only wait and hope for the disfunctionals-that-be to get their shit together and 1st: Make Detroit a safer place to live and visit. Stop laying off police and EMS, and 2nd: Figure out a deal and get hockey back in The D.
If not only for the game but for Detroit's (and our) survival.