Murder Capital of Detroit: Helplessness, Hopelessness


Detroit’s homicide rate led the 25 largest U.S. cities last year and is on track to repeat this year, says the Detroit Free Press in the first of a 3-part series. Detroit killers get away with murder more often than elsewhere. Said homicide Sgt. Kenneth Gardner put it: “There’s a sense of helplessness and hopelessness out there. And that’s a dangerous combination.”

Parts of Detroit are feeling the boost of a renaissance, but residents of many neighborhoods say they’re not sharing in the revival. From January 2003 through Nov. 6, more people were killed in Detroit — 3,313 — than have died among U.S. forces in 10 years of fighting in Afghanistan. Homicide investigators carry a far heavier case load than the national average. Their homicide closure rate, ranging from 35 percent to 45 percent in recent years, lags the 65 percent nationwide average. Carl Taylor, a Michigan State University sociology professor who studies urban violence, said: “The very fabric of our community has changed — violence has become acceptable. We have to do better.”

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