The city is enlisting parents and other volunteers to patrol the streets and escort youngsters to and from class after eight girls were raped since the start of the school year.
Mayor Dennis Archer said everyone has a role to play. About 300,000 letters were mailed to parents, volunteers, city and school employees soliciting help with the Safe Streets Initiative.
"I've called the city of Detroit together to surround all of our children with a wall of protection as they travel to and from school every day," Archer said in an address carried live tonight on Detroit television stations. "Now is the time for every Detroiter to do what he or she can do to make our streets safer."
Archer asked residents to step forward to help safeguard students two weeks ago, but only about 200 people volunteered.
Eight girls have been raped on the way to or from school. Twenty-six girls have also reported attempts to abduct them, though police said they had substantiated only three of those cases.
The mayor wants parents and guardians to walk or drive children to and from school. When adults cannot escort their children, the kids would meet at designated places and walk together. People in the neighborhoods around schools will be asked to turn on their porch lights and stand outside and keep watch.
City vehicles, volunteers, bus drivers, cab drivers, and corporate utility vehicles also will start patrolling the streets. Additional police officers have been assigned to each school, with patrols increased at the beginning and end of the school day.
Police, meanwhile, have released drawings of two men sought in connection with at least some of the rapes.
Police in Denver have warned parents because of two attempted abductions of girls this month. And authorities in the Atlanta suburb of Norcross reported that two teenage girls have been raped and abducted there this year.