Several Detroit-area police departments are taking longer to investigate nonviolent crimes, are slow to arrive at minor accidents and are cutting crime-prevention and other units because money woes have led to fewer officers, says the Detroit News. Police departments have downsized as much as 18 percent as communities pare back municipal budgets; some officials fear crime will increase as a result.
For four years, cities have seen an decrease in state tax revenue and an increase in health care and pension costs. Many have eliminated police jobs through attrition. Mary Slater of Livonia and her two kids waited 35 minutes for police to respond to a fender bender in near-zero-degree weather last week. The 151-officer Livonia Police Department is down 16 officers from a few years ago. Officers typically respond to nonemergency runs within 10-15 minutes, but delays are more common. Other officials fear a worse impact. “Crime is going to skyrocket,” said Waterford Police Chief John Dean, whose departrment has lost 18 of the 96 officers it had in 2002. That would reverse a downward trend in crime the last several years. “In two years, law and order is going to be the rallying cry of politicians all over. They’ll all be saying, ‘Let’s put more cops on the street.'”