Detroit deputy mayor, US attorney promote annual Peacenic event to curb violence

Posted at 10:55 PM, Jun 03, 2024

DETROIT (WXYZ) — To tackle the summer surge in violence, officials were out Monday on Detroit’s east side promoting Peacenic. The annual events are aimed at stopping violence by providing more resources.

Deputy Mayor Todd Bettison, U.S. Attorney Dawn Ison and Detroit police went door to door near Heilmann Community Center handing out flyers and inviting the community to the event on June 15.

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“It's going to be a lot of fun for the little ones like him,” Ison said, pointing to a young boy. "Bouncy houses, petting zoo, hustle lessons and a whole bunch of fun!”

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Now in it’s third year, Peacenic is an annual event featuring different community groups, games, activities and resources. It's held in two locations each summer: the 8th and 9th precincts.

“Its a picnic with a purpose. Really trying to bring the resources to the community,” Ison said. "The 9th Precinct is one of the most violent and we’re doing all we can to remove the violent offenders, but we’re also trying to bring resources to the community, so people can have an opportunity to make a better choice.”

It’s part of the broader One Detroit initiative, aimed at reducing gun violence in neighborhoods with the highest rate of violent crime. Coming off a weekend where nine people were shot, including at a block party where more than 90 shell casings were recovered, Chief James White held a press conference highlighting that effort.

Watch our report on the weekend violence in the video player below:

Chief White updates investigations following violent weekend in Detroit

"Summertime is traditionally the time of year that we see an increase in violence," White said. "We have an initiative that we have run in the past few years, the One Detroit initiative, that focuses on the 9th and 8th precincts, which are historically the most violent two precincts in our community. The U.S. attorney has allowed us to expand that program. She's very committed to assisting us in reducing crime and eliminating victims of gun violence."

“These kids, they're out here just going wild," Detroit resident Teshawn Bradley said. "It's a lot of killing going on and they feel they don't got nothing to do.”

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Detroiters like Teshawn Bradley, who met with Ison and Bettison during the walk, said she plans to attend the Peacenic and wants to bring her kids. She was also excited about the resources for job training.

One of her neighbors, Chonte Patterson, also says she plans to come to the Peacenic and hope the event makes a difference.

“I'm happy that someone is taking a look at our beautiful community and trying to do something about it,” Patterson said.

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“The best part about it is when you engage with someone and then on the day of the event they say, hey I told you I was going to come! And they track you down.”

As for Bettison and Ison, they’re happy to see residents engaged and also hoping this work leads to results.

“We can't create a strategy that’s going to prevent every violent crime, but we are going to be committed and we won't stop,” Ison said.

The first Peacenic of the year is June 15 at Heilman Community Center. It runs from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and is free and open to the public.