Despite Detroit’s 14 percent drop in homicides last year, the city’s crime problem “remains beyond bad, and dangerous, and among the most significant drags on the city’s health,” editorializes the Detroit Free Press Detroit’s rate of at least 37 homicides per 100,000 residents compares with New York City’s rate of six and Chicago’s 18. It’s unclear if the drops are random or the start of a real trend.
Unlike cities such as Boston and San Jose, Detroit has not deployed sustained anti-crime programs that partnered with community groups in significant ways. Still, Sheriff Warren Evans has led several programs that target the small number of people who commit most of the crimes. Those programs included the Fugitive Apprehension Service Team — run with Detroit Police, the U.S. Marshal and local agencies — resulting in the arrest of thousands of felony fugitives. The Free Press says that more people are willing to cooperate with the cops partly because of programs like the Youth Initiatives Project. Another step forward is the Michigan Department of Corrections’ new prisoner re-entry program, which has significantly reduced recidivism by helping recently released prisoners find jobs, housing and other services.