Crime fell in Detroit last year, but not enough to prevent it from topping the nation in both murder rates and violent crime rates among cities with populations of more than 100,000 in FBI data on reported crimes issued yesterday, says the Detroit News. Two more Michigan cities, Flint and Saginaw, joined Detroit among the top five with populations greater than 50,000. The crime data follow Detroit’s emergence from bankruptcy Friday, and it underscores how much work remains to rebuild population and faith in the city, said Detroit Police Commission Chairman Willie Bell. The FBI data shows Detroit had 316 murders in 2013, a rate of 45 per 100,000 people. It was followed by New Orleans (41), Newark, N.J. (40), St. Louis (38) and Baltimore (37).
“Detroit definitely has a long way to go,” he said. “People will not move into the city unless you can address this. There are realities we can’t ignore. People are worried about getting car-jacked while getting gas. People are getting robbed in their own driveways. Churches are hiring security guards because they are afraid. There is no sacred areas anymore.” Police Chief James Craig stressed that murder, carjackings and robberies are trending down in 2014. He said residents tell him they feel safer because of the department’s efforts. “This just didn’t happen overnight,” said Craig, who became chief in July 2013. “I mean how long has Detroit had the distinction? Are we turning the corner in the city? Absolutely, and it is going to continue to get better. But can it happen overnight? No, it just can’t.”