Drug Raids Down 75 Percent in Detroit as Police Shift Their Focus

City going after 'major violators' rather than marijuana users

Narcotics raids by Detroit Police have plummeted over the past three years, something the department said is due to an increased focus on major violators.

There were 855 police raids in 2015, according to the city’s 2015 audit that was released in June. That is down from a high of 3,462 raids in 2012.

Detroit Police spokesman Sgt. Michael Woody said the department has changed its focus over the last few years. He said there has been a restructuring involving the 80 officers who work in drug enforcement; they are now focused on what he called "major violators."

Woody said the most popular illegal drug in Detroit is marijuana.

The number of raids has dropped significantly over the past few years. There were 2,440 narcotics raids in 2013, and almost 50 percent fewer in 2014, which saw 1,249 raids. Raids declined by another 32 percent in 2015, ending at 855.

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Despite the drop in drug raids, the city still collected more money from ordinance fines and forfeited narcotics in 2015 than when police made four times as many raids in 2012, according to its budget.

The city’s Drug Law Enforcement Fund, which uses forfeited narcotics proceeds for drug enforcement, collected $3.8 million in ordinance fines and drug forfeitures in 2015. In 2012, the city had $2.4 million in ordinance fines and drug forfeitures.

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