Detroit's mayor has asked citizens to call "on the power of God" to help combat a city surge in homicides and violent crime.
On April 5, the police department conducted an hour-long prayer session at each of its 13 precincts. Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and Police Chief Ella Bully-Cummings participated in the event at a precinct that patrols a neighborhood were four children and their mother were recently beaten to death.
According to the Detroit Free Press, the prayer day's message essentially held that police could not have done anything to prevent those murders and that change could only come from the community with God's help.
The mayor, police chief and about 200 participants were led in prayers by seven religious leaders, the Free Press reported. A deputy with the police department's Office of Public Information told the newspaper that the events were successful and that the department was considering more of them.
Not everyone sees prayer as an appropriate response to an escalating crime rate. On www.detroituncovered.com, a website that is frequently critical of the police department, an anonymous writer asserted, "Is this the proper response to the fast- growing rate of homicides in the city? Although prayer is always good, it seems inappropriate to require officers to pray during work hours. Furthermore, it gives the impression that city leaders, including the chief of police, are at a loss as to solving the crime problem."