Moving to Detroit
Hollier, who has a staff job on city council, graduated from one of the city's best schools, Renaissance High. But he says less than a third of his classmates still live in the city--most have professional jobs in the suburbs in Michigan or around the country. He thinks one reason that more black Detroiters haven't joined the new entrepreneurial set is that "they saw no role models growing up." Another factor, he and others say, is the simple desire to live somewhere other than where you grew up.
In November, a few days after a drive-by shooter killed three people in a barber shop/gambling spot on Seven Mile Rd., I call Brianna Fritz to talk about crime. "It's definitely very troubling," she says. "Unfortunately, it's a reality ... When something happens to a friend of yours--a car window broken or someone is mugged--your guard goes up. It's important your guard be up." She makes sure someone walks her to her car if she's out at night and keeps her car locked and empty to reduce the risk of break-ins.
Like most Ann Arbor transplants, Andy Sokoly stresses that the city doesn't explode with crime at every street corner. "If you're aware of your surroundings, it's a lot safer than it's portrayed on TV," he says. Still, that vigilance takes a toll. When he returns to Ann Arbor, he admits, "it's like a weight has lifted from my shoulders."