In an exception to the national trend, murders in Detroit increased slightly last year, although they dropped dramatically in the second half of 2009, the Detroit News reports. There were 379 homicides in Detroit last year, up from 375 in 2008. But from July to December last year, there were 179 — a 20 percent decline from the same period in 2008.
Police attribute the drop to a change in the way homicides are investigated, more police on the street, and the use of computer-driven data to target crime hot spots. “I’m cautiously optimistic about these numbers,” said Ronald Griffin, chairman of the Detroit Board of Police Commissioners. “I want this to be a good news story, but I’m not ready to say we’ve fixed the problems in the department just yet, although there is certainly reason for hope.”