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Detroit offers police officers deals on foreclosed homes

From Julia Talanova, CNN
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Detroit mayor offers cops $1000 homes
  • More police officers living in neighborhoods could deter crime, the mayor says
  • The initiative will give police a chance to buy 200 city-owned, foreclosed homes
  • 50 officers have already expressed interest, the mayor's spokeswoman says

(CNN) -- Detroit's mayor is proposing a new approach to increasing public safety: offering police officers and firefighters foreclosed homes for as little as $1,000.

The idea came from police officers who wanted to live closer to their jobs, according to Karen Dumas, a spokeswoman for Detroit Mayor Dave Bing.

"We think it's a great opportunity for officers to come back to the city, for those renting and for those coming into the force," Dumas said.

The initiative, dubbed Project 14, will give police a chance to buy 200 homes that are part of the city's inventory. In addition, officers could receive up to $150,000 for renovation in the neighborhoods of East English Village and Boston-Edison.

The project will be funded by private investors -- and federal money designated for rehabilitation of the struggling city.

Officials are still hashing out the details of the program, which is in its beginning stages. But after Bing announced the plans Monday, 50 calls came in from officers wanting to participate in the program, Dumas said.

Current city estimates indicate about 53 percent of police officers and 61 percent of firefighters live outside the city, CNN affiliate WDIV reported.

There are similar residential assistance programs offered for employees throughout Detroit, a city that has seen a significant population decline. And the administration hopes its recent move could encourage large corporations with offices in the city to offer employees incentives to live where they work.

Bing also hopes the program will make Detroit residents feel safer.

"Police officers living in their neighborhoods have the potential to deter crime, improve public safety and increase the relationship between the community and our sworn officers," he told reporters.