Crime in Detroit

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Crime rates (2011)
Crime type Rate*
Homicide: 54.6[1]
Forcible rape: 59.8
Robbery: 695.6
Aggravated assault: 1,333.6
Total Violent crime: 2,137.4
Burglary: 2,242.4
Larceny-theft: 2,307.2
Motor vehicle theft: 1,593.8
Arson: 134.1
Total Property crime: 6,143.5
* Number of reported crimes per 100,000 population.
*Compare with other cities
Source: FBI 2011 UCR data

Crime in Detroit, Michigan has decreased in many categories since the 1970s, but remains a serious issue. In 2012, Detroit had the highest rate of violent crime of any city over 200,000 in the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Reports, with the proviso that such statistics are unreliable for comparing cities.[2] Annual increases in homicides, combined with a shrinking population, have made Detroit competitive with New Orleans for the highest murder rate in the nation.[3]

Crime is unevenly distributed throughout the city, with much of the violent crime emanating from selected neighborhoods in the upper east and central west. In 2008, the city unveiled a plan to revitalize these areas which include 7-Mile/Livernois, Brightmoor, East English Village, Grand River/Greenfield, North-End, and Osborn.[4][5] A Michigan Metropolitan Information Center study has routinely shown crime in Downtown Detroit (CBD) is much lower than national, state and metro averages.[6] In 2013 there were 333 murders in Detroit.

Current status[edit]

The Detroit Police Department's Crime Analysis Unit has reported that crimes have dropped by 24 percent since the introduction of casino gaming to the city.[7] The number of homicides peaked in 1974 at 714 and again in 1991 with 615. By the end of 2010, the homicide count fell to 308 for the year with an estimated population of just over 900,000, the lowest count and rate since 1967.[8][9] By 2012, however, the murder count had rebounded to 411, with 386 considered criminal homicides.[10] According to a 2007 analysis, Detroit officials noted that about 65 to 70 percent of homicides in the city were confined to a narcotics catalyst.[11] In 2013, Detroit's number of criminal homicides was 333, a reduction of 14% compared to 2012. However, taken in context by population, Detroit remains as a city with one of the highest rates per capita for homicide in the United States.[12]

In April 2008, the city unveiled a $300-million stimulus plan to create jobs and revitalize neighborhoods, financed by city bonds and paid for by earmarking about 15% of the wagering tax.[4] The city's plans for revitalization include 7-Mile/Livernois, Brightmoor, East English Village, Grand River/Greenfield, North-End, and Osborn.[4][5] Private organizations have pledged substantial funding to neighborhood revitalization efforts.[13][14] One of the issues that's not as extreme as murders and crime, but shows system-wide decline of basic city services is a large number of stray dogs roaming the streets. Fifty-nine Detroit postal workers were attacked by stray dogs in 2010, according to a Detroit postmaster.[15]

The city had faced many cases of arson each year on Devil's Night, the evening before Halloween. In the 1980s a number of residents noted that they had turned to arson of abandoned homes to keep drug dealers from using the empty buildings. The majority of citizen arsonists were never prosecuted or charged. The Angel's Night campaign, launched in the late 1990s, draws many volunteers to patrol the streets during Halloween week. The effort reduced arson: while there were 810 fires set in 1984, this was reduced to 742 in 1996.[16] In recent years, fires on this three-night period have dropped even further. In 2009, the Detroit Fire Department reported 119 fires over this period, of which 91 were classified as suspected arsons.[17]

"Renaissance" has been the city's phrase for development since the 1970s. During the administration of Dennis Archer, who succeeded Coleman Young in 1994, Detroit saw middle-class residents moving into the city, and growth in residential and commercial development. The city has improved in the early 21st century, making use of increased funding from the state to demolish condemned buildings.[18]

Law and government[edit]

Former Detroit Police Headquarters at 1300 Beaubien.

In 2000, the city requested an investigation by the United States Justice Department into the Detroit Police Department which was concluded in 2003, following allegations regarding its use of force and civil rights violations.[19] From 2005 to 2006, the city proceeded with a large scale reorganization of the Detroit Police Department, reducing the number of precincts from twelve to six "districts." The stated purpose of this reorganization was to improve services. The reorganization and the city's search for a new police headquarters raised concerns within the Detroit Police Department which included overcrowding issues and increased response times.[20] Michigan and Detroit economic squeezes sustained re-organizational impetus. Then Police Chief Ella Bully-Cummings (now retired) reassigned sworn officers from desks to squad cars, consolidating and reducing the number of precincts.

In 2007, Detroit had been named the most dangerous city in the country by the Morgan Quitno report published by CQ Press Press, a private group whose report is denounced by the American Society of Criminology as an "irresponsible misuse" of crime data.[21] The U.S Conference of Mayors and the FBI have cautioned against using the Morgan Quitno – CQ Press report ranking cities as 'safest' or 'most dangerous'.[21][22]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Fisher, Daniel. "Detroit Tops The 2012 List Of America's Most Dangerous Cities". Forbes.comdate=October 18, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Detroit's 2012 murder rate higher than when it was Murder Capital". The Detroit News. 
  4. ^ a b c
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^ Booza, Jason C. (July 26, 2006). "Reality v. Perceptions: An Updated Analysis of Crime and Safety in Downtown Detroit" (PDF). Michigan Metropolitan Information Center, Wayne State University Center for Urban Studies. Retrieved January 21, 2008. 
  7. ^ Wilks, Jeff, Donna Pendergast, and Peter Leggat (2006). Tourism in Turbulent Times: Toward Safe Experiences for Visitors. Elsevier. ISBN 0080446663. , p. 103.
  8. ^ Hunter, George (January 4, 2011). "Murders fell 15% in Detroit last year". The Detroit News. 
  9. ^ SUZETTE HACKNEY, GINA DAMRON and KRISTI TANNER-WHITE Free Press Staff Writers (January 4, 2011). "Detroit homicides fall to lowest level since 1967". 
  10. ^ Sands, David (January 3, 2013). "Bing, Detroit Police Officials Reveal 2012 Homicide Statistics". Huffington Post. 
  11. ^ Shelton, Steve Malik (January 30, 2008). "Top cop urges vigilance against crime". Michigan Chronicle. Retrieved March 17, 2008. 
  12. ^ Lambertz, Kate.The Huffington Post, 01/2014, Detroit Crime Dropped In 2013, But City Had Same Number Of Murders As New York"
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Urban Community Intervention to Prevent Halloween Arson – Detroit, Michigan, 1985–1996 (April 11, 1997)". 
  17. ^
  18. ^ Corley, Cheryl (January 3, 2005). "Detroit Struggles to Overcome Urban Blight". NPR Morning Edition. Retrieved February 13, 2008. 
  19. ^ "Quarterly Status Report to the Independent Federal Monitor". Detroit Police Department. Retrieved April 5, 2007. 
  20. ^ "Detroit to trim 150 cops, precincts". Detroit News. 30 August 2005. 
  21. ^ a b "Criminologists Condemn City crime rankings". PRNewswire. November 16, 2008. Retrieved January 13, 2008. 
  22. ^ ."The U.S Conference of Mayors challenges city crime rankings". PRNewswire. November 18, 2008. Retrieved January 13, 2008. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Greenberg, Michael R. (1999). Restoring America's Neighborhoods: How local people make a difference. Rutgers University Press. ISBN 0813527120. 
  • Wilks, Jeff, Donna Pendergast, and Peter Leggat (2006). Tourism in Turbulent Times: Toward Safe Experiences for Visitors. Elsevier. ISBN 0080446663.