Detroit Had Only One Less Homicide Than NYC In First Six Months Of 2013
Welcome to Detroit, Chief Craig.
Statistics on homicide are in for the first six months of 2013, and Detroit has virtually caught up with New York, the nation's largest city.
New York, with about 8.3 million residents, had 154 murders.
Detroit, with a population of about 700,000, had 153.
New York officials are reacting with surprise that the homicide total has dropped to a number not seen in anyone's memory. The city had less than one murder a day through late June.
In Detroit, the 153 homicides are actually down 8.4 percent from July 1 last year, when there were 167 homicides. And the 2013 total is also smaller than that of 2009, 2011 and 2012. (In 2010 there were 173 murders for the first six months.)
It's difficult to compare New York, one of the world's greatest cities by any measurement, and Detroit, which has battled the flight of business and residents for 60 years and teeters on the edge of bankruptcy.
From the 1960s to the 1990s, New York's crime rate was the source of fear inside the five boroughs and ridicule from late-night TV comedians. As recently as the 1990s, New York had more than 2,000 homicides a year.
But declining crime rates over the past two decades have made New York one of the safest big cities in the nation.
New York officials have attributed the crime drop to a number of factors, including strong anti-gun laws and arresting people for such quality-of-life offenses that were once ignored, such as littering, avoiding subway fares and even putting one's feet on a subway seat.
The NYPD also for years has practiced a controversial policy of stopping, questioning and often frisking people -- mostly minorities -- on the streets. The so-called stop-and-frisk policy is currently under attack in the courts, but police officials and Mayor Michael Bloomberg cite stop-and-frisk as one major reason for the reduction in crime.
James Craig, Detroit's new chief, took over Monday, the day after 14 people were shot in Detroit, from Woodhall Street on the East Side to Plainview Street on the West Side. One died.
Meeting cops and reporters at the 10th (Livernois) Precinct, Craig -- who started his career at that station house before leaving for police work in Los Angeles, Portland, Maine, and Cincinnati -- said what new Detroit police chiefs have been saying for 40 years.
“We will reduce violence in this city,” he said.