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    CNN has a message to all prospective landlords: Head to Wayne County! Occupancy and rental rates are increasing, the report says, creating an opportunity for serious returns on investments. In fact, after comparing the median sales price of homes to average monthly rents in nearly 1,600 counties, RealtyTrac found that Detroit’s Wayne County offers landlords the best return on their investment in the nation. Investors who buy homes in the metro area can expect a 30% gross annual return from rents. That’s triple the national average of 10%. RealtyTrac, an online real estate information company, says the county offers investors low prices for larger homes — with a median price of $45,000. “We’ve got some steals here,” said Rachel Saltmarshall, a real estate agent and immediate past president of the Detroit Association of Realtors, told CNN. “There’s a six-bedroom, 6,000 square-foot home in a historic district selling for $65,000.” For more, read the entire report here.

    The post Here is why landlords could make money in Wayne County appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit

    This Saturday, audiophiles across the world will venture out to their favorite independent record stores in search of limited releases that quickly become collectors items. The third Saturday of April marks the fairly new international holiday Record Store Day. There are certainly dos and don’ts to know for RSD — like where to shop, and how to shop. That’s right, there is an etiquette to shopping on Record Store Day and violating that code makes you look like a real asshole. In my experience of celebrating Record Store Day, I’ve seen stores use a few different tactics as far as stocking the special releases. Some establishments will set up a table, somewhere in the store, where a few shoppers at a time can flip through records in a calm and contained manner. Other places will have a similar setup, with all the releases at a table, but shoppers ask the store employees for the releases they want. It’s like a record nerd stock exchange. This process gets loud, slightly confusing and incredibly annoying — this is where elbows start getting thrown. Then, there are places that put the releases on the shelves, usually categorized by size — twelve inches with the twelve inches, seven inches with the seven inches and […]

    The post The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled

    The Detroit Electronic Music Festival, which was supposed to be making a triumphant return this year, has been canceled. A statement on the website says that the festival will be back in 2015. Back in November, Ford Field hosted an announcement party for DEMF, where it was revealed that a new DEMF festival would take place at Campus Martius Park in Detroit over the July 4th weekend. “I’m proud to be involved in the biggest and best electronic music festival in the world,” said Juan Atkins. “The future’s here. This is techno scene.” Not the immediate future, apparently. The DEMF people claim that the M-1 rail construction is partially to blame for the cancellation/12-month-postponement. Read the full statement here. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards

    Despite a turbulent 2013 which saw Metro Times change owners, move buildings and change editors twice, we picked up eight awards at the Society of Professional Journalists Awards on Wednesday night. The big winner was Robert Nixon, design manager, who picked up a first place for “Feature Page Design (Class A)” for our Josh Malerman cover story, first for “Cover Design (Class A)” for our Halloween issue (alongside illustrator John Dunivant), and a second in that same category for our annual Lust issue. In the news categories, our esteemed former news editor and current contributing writer Curt Guyette won third in “General News Reporting” and third in “Best Consumer/Watchdog” – both Class A – for the Fairground Zero and Petcoke Series respectively. Music & Culture Editor Brett Callwood placed third for his Josh Malerman cover story in the “Best Personality Profile (Class A)” category, and former editor Bryan Gottlieb picked up a couple of Class C awards for “Editorial Writing” and “Headline Writing” (third and second, respectively). We were also pleased to learn that our investigative reporter Ryan Felton won first place and an honorable mention for work published while at the Oakland Press. The MT ship is steady now, […]

    The post Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval

    In this week’s Metro Times we took a look at the state legislature’s role in Detroit’s ongoing bankruptcy — in particular, how it must approve a $350 million pledge for the so-called “grand bargain” to remain intact. And, with last night’s announcement of a significant deal between the city and Detroit’s pension boards and retiree groups, the ball is Lansing’s court now. The new deal, first reported by the Freep, would cut general employees monthly pension checks by 4.5 percent and eliminate their cost-of-living increases. Police and fire retirees would see no cuts to monthly checks, while their cost-of-living increases would be reduced from 2.25 percent to 1 percent. Under the original offer, police and fire retirees cuts were as high as 14 percent, with general retirees as high as 34 percent, that is, if the groups rejected the “grand bargain,” an $816 million proposal funded by foundations, the state, and the DIA to shore up pensions. The sweeter deal for pensions, though, it must be noted, entirely relies on the state legislature approving $350 million for Detroit’s bankruptcy.  And while this broke after Metro Times went to press, that was the focal point of this week’s News Hits column — so, it’s worth repeating: The […]

    The post Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday

    This Saturday, April 19, is Record Store Day, and there is plenty going on in metro Detroit and Michigan. Of special interest to us is Chiodos’ 7” single “R2ME2/Let Me Get You A Towel,” Mayer Hawthorne & Shintaro Skamoto’s 7” “Wine Glass Woman/In a Phantom,” Chuck Inglish & Action Bronson’s 7” “Game Time,” Chuck Inglish & Chance the Rapper’s 7” “Glam,” Chuck Inglish & Chromeo’s 7” “Legs,” Chuck Inglish, Mac Miller & Ab-Soul’s 7” “Easily,” James Williamson’s 7” “Open Up and Bleed/Gimme Some Skin,” Black Milk’s 12” “Glitches in the Break,” Mayer Hawthorne’s 10” “Jaded Inc.,” Wayne Kramer & the Lexington Arts Ensemble’s 12” “Lexington,” and best of all, Ray Parker Jr.’s 10” “Ghostbusters.” We wrote about James Williamson’s release this week. Go shop. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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A day in the life

DPD's daily crime report shines a light on the city's violent side

Photo: , License: N/A

Winthrop Street, where a man died on a stranger's front lawn.

For about a year now, the Detroit Police Department has done something it's never done before — it sends out a daily report chronicling the previous day's major crimes — the shootings, the stabbings, the carjackings, the armed robberies. It's an ongoing narrative of the worst behavior of the city's worst residents.

There's not enough time or space to report all the incidents that, in Detroit, are considered comparatively minor — the burglaries (more than 7,900 so far this year by mid-July), the assaults (more than 15,000), the stolen cars (more than 6,500), the rapes (more than 520). And some violent incidents are left out entirely if a detective says he wants it kept quiet while it's being investigated. 

What's finally released, then, is an imperfect but revealing measure of the substance behind the city's longstanding reputation for violence.

"It's just to be transparent," says Sgt. Eren Stephens, a spokeswoman for the department, of the daily reports. Chief Ralph Godbee, she says, "believes that if it helps the citizens help us fight crime, let's put it out there."

Each entry is its own brief story, written in cold, flat police jargon whose vagueness sometimes poses more questions than answers. A recent description of three suspects wanted in an early July shooting reads: "Suspect #1: Black male, wearing an orange shirt. Suspect #2: Black male. Suspect #3: Black male, armed." Be on the lookout.

The vague language is deliberate, Stephens says. Sometimes an investigation is ongoing, and releasing too many details could compromise it. Sometimes the police don't have more information because the victim won't talk. Or can't anymore. 

"It could be that they didn't see anything, it could be that the individual was not available at the time to give the information, so a lot of times we just want to let the citizens know this is happening in that area, so be aware."

And sometimes, the police run into the notorious street code that says snitching on a murder is almost worse than the murder itself. A report of a July 22 shooting notes that, "The victim has refused to cooperate at this time. The circumstances pertaining to this incident are unknown. Suspect: Unknown, possibly driving a vehicle."

"Unfortunately you have some citizens who will just not supply information to Detroit police because they want to handle it themselves," Stephens says. "Or they're just scared of retaliation. Sometimes the victim refuses to prosecute, and we don't have a case."

Some people might read the reports and find less crime going on than they expected; some might discover there's more. What stands out is how constant the violence is, how much fresh fodder there is to fill daily reports, how little information the police have to go by in many cases. And how many of the crimes are truly random.


Each day chronicled in the reports blurs into the next as each day brings fresh crime. So any random date, say July 15, is as good a glimpse into the city's violent side as any other.

That day, a Sunday, would be another very hot day in a summer full of them. By the following morning at least a dozen major crimes had taken place in Detroit — several shootings, a few carjackings, and two men killed, edging this year's total murders close to 200.

That Sunday's mayhem began exactly one minute after midnight, near Hayes and Harper on the east side, when two women who knew each other started fighting with their fists. The 55-year-old grabbed a knife and inflicted a deep cut on her 52-year-old acquaintance, sending her to the hospital in serious condition. 

Two hours later, at Plymouth at Forrer near Greenfield Road, an 18-year-old was standing outside at 2 a.m. when he heard nearby gunfire and suddenly felt a sharp pain. No description of the shooters, no clues as to why. He was the first of several that day hit by stray gunshots.

Across town, a 36-year-old man was driving on the east side near Houston-Whittier and Chalmers at around 2:30 a.m. and thought the middle of the night was a sensible time to get gas in a bad neighborhood. He pulled into the Citgo on the corner, got out of his 2008 Chevy Impala under the station's bright lights, and a man who was hiding in the shadows, wearing a red baseball cap and a ski mask despite the heat, came over, pointed a gun, and drove off with a free car. The victim wasn't harmed. He was among the lucky handful that day to face a gun and walk away.

The three guys sitting in a car on a darkened Fairport Street at East State Fair at 2:45 a.m. were not so lucky. A car pulled up alongside them, and someone pulled out a gun and sprayed the three men with bullets. The two 26-year-olds eventually made it to the hospital; the 33-year-old did not. "Suspect: unknown and armed," the report states.

 For whatever reason, a 44-year-old man was awake enough at 4:25 a.m. to be standing outside on Seebaldt just off Tireman on the west side. Suddenly, as the police report puts it with comic passivity, "he received gunshot wounds to the body," leaving him in temporarily serious condition at the hospital. This was one of those shootings in which the victim apparently comes down with selective amnesia when the police arrive. "The circumstances pertaining to this incident are currently unknown," the report admits. 

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