Crime in Detroit
|Crime rates* (2015)|
|Total violent crime||1,749.5|
|Motor vehicle theft||770.3|
|Total property crime||4070.1|
*Number of reported crimes per 100,000 population.
Source: FBI 2015 UCR data
Crime in Detroit, Michigan has decreased in many categories since the 1970s. In 2015, Detroit had its lowest number of criminal homicides in 40 years, and as of 2015, Detroit has the second highest murder rate in the United States. St. Louis now has the highest murder rate at 49.9 murders per 100,000, compared to Detroit's 43.5.
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. A Michigan Metropolitan Information Center study has routinely shown crime in Downtown Detroit (CBD) is much lower than national, state and metro averages. In 2015, there were 295 murders in Detroit, down from 298 murders in 2014 and 316 murders in 2013. The total number of murders in Michigan increased to 571.
The percentage of murders committed with a gun is high in Detroit and this distorts the overall crime rate in Detroit making it appear more dangerous than it really is. 82% of homicides in Wayne County, Michigan, which includes Detroit, were committed with firearms between 2008 and 2013. In the United States as a whole in 2011, 67.6% of homicides involved a firearm. This leads to an inflated violent crime rate as most violent crimes do not involve guns. For example, only 21% of aggravated assaults involve a gun. The murder rate in Detroit is 8.7 times the national average while the aggravated assault rate is only 4.7 times the national average. The property crime rate is only 1.6 times the national average Arson is a major problem with 842 reports of arson in 2015 and Detroit is famous for Devil's Night.
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. 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. By 2012, however, the murder count had rebounded to 411, with 386 considered criminal homicides. 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. 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.
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. The city's plans for revitalization include 7-Mile/Livernois, Brightmoor, East English Village, Grand River/Greenfield, North-End, and Osborn. Private organizations have pledged substantial funding to neighborhood revitalization efforts. 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.
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. 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.
"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, despite overall population decline. The city has improved in the early 21st century, making use of increased funding from the state to demolish condemned buildings.
According to arrest records, as of 2015 many of the customers of illegal drugs and sex in Detroit originate from the suburbs. George Hunter of The Detroit News wrote that "Detroit’s underground economy mirrors the legitimate one: Both rely heavily on suburban investment." The largest number of suburbanites committing illegal acts go to areas of Detroit bordering suburbs.
As of 2015 there is an element in Detroit culture against "snitching" or reporting criminal activity.
Law and government
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. 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. 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. 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'.
- Crime in Michigan
- Law of Michigan
- Decline of Detroit
- History of Detroit
- Detroit riots including the 1967 Detroit riot
- United States cities by crime rate
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