Streetlight Detroit

Good morning,

We want to open this edition of Streetlight Detroit acknowledging that people in Palestine and Israel are not safe right now. In our own area, many are worried about loved ones, the future for their own people and sacred places, and the state of conflict in the world more generally. 

We will focus on safety concerns more locally because that is what we set out to do with this newsletter, but our lack of a deep focus on international events is not due to lack of care. We know many people in and around Detroit are upset about how some national and international media is covering the war. If you have concerns about local coverage or the safety of loved ones or neighbors here or in the Middle East, please e-mail reporter Miriam Marini. She’s at a journalism conference this week, but you can always reach her at

Stay safe,

Team Streetlight

»the count

add up these numbers

Too many. That’s this week’s number for The Count. The current war in Israel and Palestine is now in its 14th day, and too many people have been killed, brutalized, taken hostage and cut off from essentials like water and electricity.

»in these streets

speed through key safety news

New assault allegations have emerged at Wayne County’s juvenile jail in Hamtramck, despite increased state oversight this year. In one incident, a young person said he was sexually assaulted in a closet, and another incident left a young person with blood on his brain… 

In Detroit classrooms, asbestos, bird nests and cockroaches are not the ABCs students should be dealing with. Fed-up Detroit high school students, along with organizers from 482Forward, have launched a campaign highlighting the worst conditions of DPSCD buildings… 

ShotSpotter — a surveillance tool that listens for gunshots around Detroit — is leading to few arrests, but police officials still claim shooting incidents are down because of the technology… 

Over at the 10th police precinct, an officer remains on administrative leave since July for misconduct. The officer’s body-cam footage recorded him making abusive comments against a woman who had called for police assistance. 

(Detroit Free Press, 482Forward, BridgeDetroit, WXYZ)

»BOPC watch

keep an eye on Detroit’s police oversight body

This week’s Board of Police Commissioners meeting featured discussion about domestic violence prevention. Detroit Police Chief James White, commissioners and community members expressed concerns about the demeanor and training of officers who respond to domestic violence calls. Catch up on the latest with the BOPC

»explained: The case for a plastic bag ban

dig into the facts

Animated illustration of single-use plastic grocery store bag that says "Thank You" in red writing that moves down the surface of the bag.
Image credit: Fabiola Lara / Casa Girl via GIPHY

How bad can a plastic bag be? 

Officials in Detroit want to be able to ban plastic bags and plastics like forks and knives, but they can’t because of a 2016 state law that keeps municipalities from banning single-use plastics. 

The United States and the United Kingdom are the biggest global producers of plastic waste. That waste could ultimately end up in your blood or lungs. Plastics have a potentially negative impact on fertility, nerve functioning and infant development. 

»rewind: Devil’s night

take a trip through time

YouTube video
An early 1990s Detroit PSA about Devil’s Night.

Halloween is almost here, and so is Devil’s Night — the night before Halloween infamous for pranks, from toilet-papering to arson. 

Destructive pranks associated with the yearly tradition have declined since what seems like a peak in the 1980s and ’90s when novices and professional arsonists were setting homes on fire. There were variations of Devil’s Night around the country, but the level of arson and destruction in Detroit was so unique that people traveled from other states and countries to watch the fires. 

Let’s rewind and look at the history of Devil’s Night in Detroit, and the city’s response to the phenomenon. 

This project is brought to you by BridgeDetroit, Chalkbeat Detroit, Detroit Free Press, Detroit Metro Times, Michigan Radio, Planet Detroit, WDET 101.9 FM, WXYZ-TV and Outlier Media/Detroit Documenters.

This edition was written by Outlier Media’s editorial team, BridgeDetroit’s Jena Brooker and Detroit Documenters’ Alex Klaus.

Jena is a BridgeDetroit's environmental reporter, covering everything from food and agricultural to pollution to climate change.

Alex (she/her) is an urban studies and public history student at Wayne State University and a Detroit Documenter. She has a special interest in researching Metro-Detroit history and seeks to connect current issues with historical context to find solutions. She believes we must understand our past to...