Crime in Detroit, Michigan

Crime in Detroit, Michigan
Crime rates (2010)
Crime type Rate*
Homicide: 34.4
Forcible rape: 45.0
Robbery: 615.7
Aggravated assault: 1,192.1
Violent crime: 1,887.3
Burglary: 1,900.0
Larceny-theft: 2,011.7
Motor vehicle theft: 1,401.0
Arson: 120.2
Property crime: 5,312.9
* Number of reported crimes per 100,000 population.
*Compare with other cities
Source: FBI 2010 UCR data

Crime in Detroit, Michigan has decreased significantly since the 1970s. In 2007, the city had the sixth highest number of violent crimes among the twenty-five largest cities.[1] FBI reports for 2008 show that the numbers of violent crimes dropped 11.6% in the city of Detroit,[2] continuing a downward trend: overall, crime in the city of Detroit dropped 23 percent from 2000 to 2004.[3] In 2010, city of Detroit neighborhoods were not listed as among those in major cities with the 25 highest crime rates in the U.S. as reported by[4]

Crime is unevenly distributed throughout the city. A 2006 study showed crime in downtown Detroit (CBD) is much lower than national, state and metro averages.[5] Accurate statistics can be difficult to find; according to a 2008 report, the Detroit Police Department under-reported homicides through incorrect classification. The department admitted that it excluded justifiable homicides classified as self-defense in its initial 2008 report, but that is consistent with how the FBI reports homicide numbers.[6]

Detroit recorded 308 criminal homicides in 2010, a 15.4% drop from the previous years count of 364. Non-fatal shootings were also down 10.5% from the previous year.[7]


Crime reduction

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.[8] 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.[7][9] 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.[10]

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.[11] The city's plans for revitalization include 7-Mile/Livernois, Brightmoor, East English Village, Grand River/Greenfield, North-End, and Osborn.[11] Private organizations have pledged substantial funding to neighborhood revitalization efforts.[12][13]

The city had faced many cases of arson in abandoned homes each year on Devil's Night, the evening before Halloween. 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.[14] 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.[15]

Many of these problems have been blamed on the increased white flight and court-ordered busing to desegregate its schools during the 1970s which contributed to urban decay, poverty, increased unemployment, and de facto segregation of the inner city.[16] The city was largely emptied of its remaining white population by 1980. Although "Renaissance" has been the city's phrase for development since the 1970s, many have charged Mayor Coleman Young with a polarizing style that accelerated the white flight. During the administration of Dennis Archer, who succeeded Young, 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.[17]

Law and government

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.[18] 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.[19] 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.[20] 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'.[20][21]


  1. ^ FBI UCR table 6. Retrieved on January 17, 2009.
  2. ^ Oosting, Jonathan (September 14, 2009).FBI: Violent crime, including murder, down in Detroit during 2008. Retrieved on December 27, 2009.
  3. ^ Detroit Crime Barometer (October 2005). Center for Urban Studies, Wayne State University. Retrieved on February 13, 2008.
  4. ^ 25 highest crime neighborhoods in the U.S. for 2010. Retrieved April 8, 2011.
  5. ^ Booza, Jason C. (July 26, 2006).Reality v. Perceptions: An Updated Analysis of Crime and Safety in Downtown Detroit. Michigan Metropolitan Information Center, Wayne State University Center for Urban Studies. Retrieved on January 21, 2008.
  6. ^ Detroit police routinely under-report homicides Actual '08 total gives city worst rate in nation, by Charlie LeDuff and Santiago Esparza. Retrieved on June 18, 2009.
  7. ^ a b Murders fell 15% in Detroit last year, by George Hunter / The Detroit News, published January 4, 2011.
  8. ^ Wilks, Jeff, Donna Pendergast, and Peter Leggat (2006). Tourism in Turbulent Times: Toward Safe Experiences for Visitors. Elsevier. ISBN 0080446663. , p. 103.
  9. ^ Detroit homicides fall to lowest level since 1967, By SUZETTE HACKNEY, GINA DAMRON and KRISTI TANNER-WHITE Free Press Staff Writers, published January 4, 2011
  10. ^ Shelton, Steve Malik (2008-01-30). Top cop urges vigilance against crime. Michigan Chronicle. Retrieved on 2008-03-17 from
  11. ^ a b Next Detroit. City of Detroit. Retrieved on December 31, 2008.
  12. ^ Community Development.DEGA. Retrieved on December 31, 2008.
  13. ^ Detroit Neighborhood Fund.Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan. Retrieved December 31, 2008.
  14. ^ Urban Community Intervention to Prevent Halloween Arson - Detroit, Michigan, 1985-1996 (April 11, 1997). CDC Wonder at
  15. ^ Detroit fires drop over 3-day Halloween period, Associated Press, Published 2 November 2009
  16. ^ Broken Detroit - Death of a City Block (June 17, 2001). The Detroit News.
  17. ^ Cheryl Corley, (January 3, 2005).Detroit Struggles to Overcome Urban BlightNPR Morning Edition. Retrieved on February 13, 2008.
  18. ^ Quarterly Status Report to the Independent Federal Monitor. Detroit Police Department. Retrieved on April 05, 2007.
  19. ^ Detroit to trim 150 cops, precincts (30 August 2005). Detroit News.
  20. ^ a b Criminologists Condemn City crime rankings (November 16, 2008)PRNewswire. Retrieved on January 13, 2008.
  21. ^ .The U.S Conference of Mayors challenges city crime rankings (November 18, 2008). PRNewswire. Retrieved on January 13, 2008.

Further reading

  • 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. 

External links

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