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Detroit police chief James Craig says more citizens should be armed

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Dec. 17, 2013: Detroit Police Chief James Craig speaks with the media during Operation Mistletoe, a raid targeting drug dealers on Detroit's west side.AP/Detroit Free Press

Detroit’s police chief has a solution to help drive down crime in one of the nation’s most dangerous cities: arm more citizens.

James Craig made the comments at a police press conference Thursday, when he announced a 7 percent drop in violent crime in 2013, The Detroit News reported. Although urban police typically favor gun control, Craig said his views evolved after working in Los Angeles and Maine, where concealed weapons permits are more easily obtained.

“I changed my orientation real quick,” Craig said. “Maine is one of the safest places in America. Clearly, suspects knew that good Americans were armed.”

Thursday’s comments echo statements Craig has made in the past, including those he made last month, when he said responsible citizens who carry concealed pistol licenses “translates into crime reduction.”

However, in the past, Craig has called for a ban on assault weapons, regulating high-capacity magazines, tighter restrictions on internet ammunition sales and more stringent background checks for firearm sales at gun shows, the Detroit News said.

At Thursday’s press conference, Craig announced that Detroit’s homicide rate last year was 47.5 per 100,000 residents, down from 55 the year before, the Detroit Free Press reported. Authorities added that there were 1,161 non-fatal shootings in the city, an 8 percent drop from 2012, along with decreases in aggravated assaults, robberies, sexual assaults, carjackings, burglaries and stolen vehicles. Larcenies rose, however.

Despite the drop, Detroit still recorded as many homicides as New York City – despite having a population that's less than one-tenth the size of the Big Apple, the Free Press reported.

Click here to read more from The Detroit News.

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