While drug dealers and prostitutes also operate in the suburbs, they’re generally more difficult to find than in some Detroit neighborhoods, where men and women hawking illegal wares often boldly flag down passing motorists.
Out-of-towners venturing into the city’s most dangerous neighborhoods and consorting with street hustlers is a recipe for trouble, Dolunt said.
“A lot of times these people from the suburbs aren’t very streetwise, and they become victims of crimes themselves,” he said. “They get robbed, beat up, sometimes killed.”
Of the city’s 298 criminal homicide victims last year, 39, or 13 percent, lived outside Detroit, according to the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office annual report. In 2013, 14 percent of Detroit’s homicide victims lived elsewhere, and the year before that, 16 percent.
On the city’s eastern edge, teens from the upscale Grosse Pointes trek across the border to buy heroin and marijuana, said Charles Flanagan, the former head of the Detroit Police Narcotics Section, also the longtime head of east side Special Operations units.
“I caught one kid, and I had him tell me who else was buying dope,” said Flanagan, who retired in July. “So he brought me his high school yearbook from Grosse Pointe South and circled the pictures of about 20 students that he knew of who were either buying drugs or were in rehab.
“A lot of these kids are hooked; they steal their parents’ jewelry and pawn it, then come into Detroit to get their heroin.”
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