Amid major changes in the way Detroit Police operate, violent crime has dropped significantly so far in 2013, with the city on pace to record fewer than 350 homicides for only the fourth time in 30 years, reports the Detroit News. Despite the lower numbers, police officials and residents say they're still not satisfied with the rampant crime that makes Detroit one of the nation’s most dangerous cities. As of Friday, there were 315 homicides — 60 fewer than the same period in 2012, a 16 percent drop. The city has recorded fewer than 350 only three other times since 1983: In 2008, 2010 and 2011, although the high totals in previous years came when the city's population was far higher than the current 700,000. In terms of the homicide rate per 100,000 residents, last year saw a 20-year high of about 54.6, roughly the same as in 1974, when Detroit recorded 714 homicides and became known as the “Murder Capital.”
This year's homicide rate has dropped to 45 per 100,000 residents. Flint led the nation last year with a homicide rate of 62 per 100,000 residents. Of cities over 200,000, New Orleans was a close second to Detroit with 53.2 murders per 100,000 residents. During his first six months on the job, Police Chief James Craig has high marks from union officials and rank-and-file officers for helping restore morale to a police force that's been battered by pay and benefit cuts and the threat of having pensions slashed. His aggressive method of crime-fighting has garnered both supporters and critics. With the help of The Manhattan Institute and the Bratton Group, consultants hired to help shape policy, Craig revamped the department. In addition to restructuring the command staff, he put a heavy emphasis on COMPSTAT, the data-driven approach that holds precinct captains accountable for crime in their areasy.