Crime is a major campaign issue in the race between Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and challenger Freman Hendrix. Kilpatrick touts the fact that crime is decreasing; Hendrix says it’s still rampant. Both are right, says the Detroit Free Press. Kilpatrick has a restructuring plan he says not only cuts the number of police officers by about 100 — saving in the neighborhood of $20 million — but also manages to put more than 100 additional officers on the street by reassigning desk duty personnel. Hendrix says it’s essential to put even more officers on the street and reopen police mini-stations closed in recent years. The Free Press says that the police budget provides for fewer cops in the precincts — those being the most likely to do street work — than at any time during the last 12 years.
Kilpatrick says that even as the city struggles with cuts in state grants and trims police personnel, crime is down. Kilpatrick says that’s proof he can do more with less. decreasing, but he says it’s still way too high. Hendrix says, “The city is on its knees and crime-ridden.” Detroit reports to the FBI that rapes, robberies, car thefts, and burglaries all were down last year. Yet, Detroit is fifth in murders per capita among cities with more than 100,000 residents. When comparing the country’s 20 largest cities, Detroit still ranks first (42 per 100,000 residents). Philadelphia is in second place (22 per 100,000 residents). The number of murders in Detroit increased from 366 in 2003 to 385 last year.