Detroit Murder Drop–Good Police Strategy Or Random Numbers?


Detroit is on pace to have its lowest number of homicides in more than 40 years, says the Detroit Free Press. The has recorded 340, about 14 percentunder last year’s 396. That is the lowest homicide total since 1967, although the city’s population was about 1.5 million then and is about 917,000 now. Police spokesman James Tate attributed the decrease to the arrests of criminals who may be responsible for more than one killing. Other strategies such as collaborative task forces, shifting the hours that some officers work and focusing on high-crime areas have helped, Tate said.

The city’s homicide rate still ranks high when compared with other big cities. Detroit has about 37 homicides per 100,000 residents, compared with New York City’s rate last year of about 6 and Chicago’s of 18. Criminologist James Alan Fox of Northeastern University said Detroit’s large decrease is good news, but keeping the number lower isn’t that simple. “I wouldn’t celebrate too much,” Fox said. “Large decreases tend to be followed by increases. Unless there is some really significant change in policy, practice, and procedure they could point to, the large decrease is most likely random.”


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