Detroit Crime Is Down Overall, But Homicides, Stolen Cars And Robberies Are Up

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Mayor Dave Bing and police officials Thursday announced an overall reduction in major crime in Detroit for 2012, but homicides were up to 386, from 344 in 2011 and 308 in 2010.

The number of major crimes dipped 2.6 percent, according to preliminary Detroit police statistics. Burglaries dropped by nearly 13 percent, and rapes were down by almost 6 percent.

Stolen cars increased by 6.4 percent: There were 12,798 in 2012, an average of 35 a day. Larcenies decreased slightly and robberies were up by nearly 2 percent.

Detroit's homicide problem stands in contrast to many other cities, such as New York and Los Angeles, where murder rates are falling or stable. Chicago, on the other hand, had  506 murders in 2012, a 16 percent increase from 2011.

Detroit's homicide rate is 55 per 100,000 residents, and is the highest rate among the nation's 20 most populous cities.  By one measurement, the homicide rate is now the second highest in the city's history: During the crack epidemic of 1987, Detroit's rate was 63.5 per 100,000 people.

The national homicide rate for 2011 was 4.8 per 100,000 citizens, according to the Washington Post. The recent peak of 10.2 was in 1980, as recorded by national criminal statistics.

“We’re at as low a place as we’ve been in the past 100 years,” Randolph Roth, professor of history at Ohio State University and author of this year’s “American Homicide,” told the Post.

"The rate oscillates between about 5 and 9 [per 100,000], sometimes a little higher or lower, and we’re right at the bottom end of that oscillation.”

Detroit police also reported 1,263 non-fatal shootings in 2012, an average of nearly 3 1/2 a day. In 2011, there were 1,244 non-fatal shootings.

 "America has a problem with guns, but the epicenter seems to be here in Detroit," said interim Chief Chester Logan.

Much of the gun violence comes from a small percentage of the population, Logan said, many of whom are involved in "nefarious" activity. 

"These aren't the average citizens we are talking about," he said, adding: "That does not negate the fact that nobody deserves to die."

There have been two confirmed homicides so far in 2013, and the murder of a cab driver Thursday morning is under investigation.

According to the Free Press, the owner of the cab company plans to "beg" the city for help in protecting his drivers.

Come back to Deadline Detroit later Thursday for more details on the Detroit crime story.

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