Closure Rate Falls On Detroit’s Violent Crimes


Two years after one person was shot to death and eight others were wounded at the city’s annual fireworks show, police still don’t know who pulled the trigger, the Detroit News reports. The case that began as stunning national news and later included the embarrassment of charging the wrong man lingers unsolved and unforgotten. It is made all the more frustrating because there were thousands of potential witnesses and cameras everywhere. Historically, about eight of every nine serious crimes in Detroit result in no arrest. Even fewer result in a prison sentence. James Tate, a spokesman for the Detroit Police Department, said the department hasn’t given up in these cases, but too often the public has information about crime but won’t come forward.

Detroit’s overall crime rate has fallen eight years in a row, but the violent crime rate — murders, rapes, robberies and serious assaults — rose 32 percent in 2005. Most serious crimes in Detroit go unsolved every year, but the number of arrests in these cases plummeted in 2004, the last year for which figures are available. Police did not make available the 2005 information the department has already submitted for the annual FBI report. Despite posting the lowest violent crime rate in the city in decades, the closure rate for those types of cases in 2004 sank from 35 percent in 2003 to 25 percent in 2004. It was the worst closure rate for violent crime since 1996, when the city had 7,000 more crimes to investigate.


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