Detroit’s crime crisis is prompting such pessimism that 40 percent of residents plan to move within five years, according to a comprehensive poll of Detroiters’ attitudes about their city and leadership, reports the Detroit News. Residents overwhelmingly believe the city is on the wrong track and have no faith that city leaders have a plan to turn it around. Crime is by far their biggest worry — even higher than finding a job in a city where some put the true unemployment rate as high as 50 percent.
The survey suggests that, unless city officials can combat violence, efforts to halt decades of decline will fail. The city’s population already has fallen by 1 million over the past 50 years. “There’s an aura of fear that just pervades the whole neighborhood,” said Michael LaBlanc, 63, who installed a security system at his home last week because he’s weary of car thieves and gunfire. “It’s almost like being in prison. We always like to have at least one person home for security sake.” Commissioned by The Detroit News and funded by the Thompson Foundation, the survey provided a rare, statistically sound measure of public opinion. The poll found low support for all city officials except Police Chief Ralph Godbee, who quit yesterday amid a sex scandal that emerged after the survey was conducted.