Detroit Chief’s Changes Can Lower Crime Only So Much: Experts


Detroit Police Chief Warren Evans has spent his four months in charge tackling the variables in the city’s crime rate that he thinks he might be able to change, including police response time, murder closures, and interactions with the public, says the Detroit Free Press. Experts say no chief can change other factors, like city fiscal woes and widespread residential poverty. “Detroit’s crime rates will go up and down over time,” said Richard Rosenfeld, a criminologist at the University of Missouri at St. Louis. “The underlying base rate has less to do with police and more to do with the city’s conditions.”

Some efforts Evans is undertaking, such as aggressively targeting hot spots and people illegally carrying concealed weapons, have proved successful in big cities such as New York. Experts emphasize that what worked in one city might not work in Detroit. Even by changing things the police department can change, those actions likely will impact the overall crime rate by maybe 5 percent in the long term, Rosenfeld said.

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