Monday, 5:50 p.m. -- Police initially said seven cars were stolen in Corktown over the weekend. It was actually four. There were seven stolen over the weekend in the Third District, which includes Corktown.
Sunday, 4:50 p.m.: The stolen car was recovered about three hours ago and is an impound lot. Police tell the owner it has no tires or rims, the back window is smashed and the ignition is damaged. Seven cars were stolen Saturday night in the same area, according to the officer who called.
Sunday, 12:40 p.m.: Some people are under the impression that it was my car that was stolen. It was not my car that was stolen, but rather someone in the group I accompanied.
Original article, 1:50 a.m. Sunday:
Something just wasn’t right.
I went with a group of friends Saturday night to the trendy eatery, Ottava Via, at the old Dime Savings Bank branch building on Michigan and 8th Street in Detroit's Corktown. I won’t complain too much that we got there at 8 p.m. and didn’t get seated until about 10:30, and served until about 11:15.
It was really the post-meal that caused the real heartburn. It was about 11:45 p.m.
As we walked to get the car, a new Ford Explorer, parked a couple blocks down on Brooklyn, just north of Michigan Avenue, we realized the car was gone. It was cold out, and we had a momentary feeling of disbelief. It’s not particularly unique. It happens in the city far too often. In a lot of cities, in fact. Yes, cars get stolen every day. This time it was someone in our group who was missing his new car. Suffice to say, he wasn't too pleased. It wasn't my car, but I felt the pain.
We called 911. The dispatcher said, sorry the cops can’t come out there, you’ll have to come down to the station to fill out a report.
I said, "you’re kidding me. We have no car."
“Sorry,’ the dispatcher said, “maybe you can call a friend.” We ended up calling our friend Uber, which took us to the precinct at Woodward and W. Grand Blvd., where the person who had his car stolen filled out a police report.
When we walked into the station, we saw a suburban couple from Bloomfield Hills who had just dined at Corktown's Gold Cash Gold. a new restaurant nearby our eatery. They were there to fill out a crime report as well. Their brand new Lincoln SUV had been stolen. The wife said she regretted not going for dinner in the suburbs.
First off, cops know that the Corktown area, with all those restaurants and bars along Michigan Avenue, has a problem with car thefts and car break-ins. In fact, there's a sign in back of some establishments warning of car break-ins.
In other words, beware, caveat emptor. We've warned you.
If businesses and the city want people to feel welcome, and frequent the restaurants, they need to do more than post a sign. Granted, there’s some secure parking in the back, but not enough.
So, police need to do a better job patrolling the area. It’s about safety. It’s also about making sure commerce thrives in the city.
Secondly, the owners of the restaurants and bars in the area need to have private security out there if they want folks to return. Frankly, the food and service at Ottava Via wasn’t worth a stolen car.
I suggest businesses collectively chip in $150 a night to have a security guard drive around and circle a few blocks, looking out for car thefts.
If not, perhaps the customers should send a message by going elsewhere until the businesses wise up.
Thirdly, how pathetic is that the Detroit Police can’t dispatch a patrol car to make out a report on the scene, instead of leaving it up to folks, in the dead of winter, who have no car, to make their way to a precinct to fill out a crime report?
City of Detroit: You call this adequate service? You call this good public relations? You think this is good for commerce?
Corktown probably lost some customers after Saturday night, at least temporarily.
And the businesses, the cops and city hall are to blame.