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Detroit's Homicide Rate Dropped in 2003

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Detroit's homicde rate dropped to its lowest rate since 1968 in 2003. There were only 365 murders in 2003. Still far too many, but an improvement. If only we could get below the 300 mark....

Anyway, this is a huge change from the late 1980s and early 1990s. And in case you're wondering, the worst year for murders in Detroit was 1974, when there were 714 murders in the city.

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This is great news for the city bad for the familes but that means they had 1 murder a day did they have a 1/4 of a murder :P also to make up for not having the 29th of Feb? So just playing around but this really is good news for Detroit I'm gald to see it's droping. I can't wait to see this years.

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Actually according to the paper today, I was wrong. There were only 361 murders. That works out to 39 murders per 100,000 people. New York had a rate of 7 per 100,000, Washington, D.C., had a rate of 43, New Orleans had a rate of 57, and Gary, Indiana, led the country with a rate of 66 homicides per 100,000.

City among most murderous

Slayings down, but Detroit's deadly rate still high

January 3, 2004



In raw numbers last year, Detroit recorded one of its best years for homicides in decades.

It had 361 murders -- the lowest number since 1967.

But experts don't measure a city's murder rate by raw numbers alone. A more accurate method, they say, is to measure the number of murders against the population -- the per capita number, which allows comparison with other cities.

Using that measurement, Detroit stands as one of the most murderous big cities in the United States. Of the 10 largest cities, Detroit ranked first, with a rate of 39 homicides per 100,000 residents.

New York, which has a population that's more than eight times larger than Detroit's, had a rate of 7 homicides per 100,000 residents.

A few smaller cities had soaring homicide rates -- Washington, D.C., recorded a rate of 43 homicides per 100,000 residents; New Orleans had a rate of 57, and Gary, Ind., led the country with a rate of 66 homicides per 100,000.

Alfred Blumstein, a professor of public policy at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, said per capita figures are important because they explain risk.

"If you're counting victimization risk, it's a question of the number of people among whom the victimization is going to be spread," Blumstein said Friday.

He called Detroit's 10-percent decrease in homicides during 2002 "reasonably good." The city recorded 402 homicides in 2002, or a rate of 43 per 100,000 residents.

"The national story in context is that it's been impressively flat, which doesn't mean that every city is flat when it comes to homicides, but there are some increasing and some decreasing," he said.

After Detroit's 714 homicides in 1974, it acquired the unwelcome nickname of Murder City, but its violent reputation has faded in recent years as its crime rate has declined.

Wayne County Prosecutor Mike Duggan and former Police Chief Jerry Oliver have attributed last year's reduction to several crime-fighting initiatives:

Prosecutors now work closely with police in various precincts to get reluctant witnesses and crime victims to give sworn statements, or face contempt of court charges.

A Fugitive Apprehension Service Team, which uses police and Wayne County sheriff's deputies to get felons off the streets.

Project Safe Neighborhood, which calls for prosecuting under stricter federal law any criminal who uses a gun.

Detroit Police Chief Ella Bully-Cummings, who took over in November, said placing prosecutors in the police precincts and the department's relationship with Duggan have been key in reducing homicides last year.

"I'm always disappointed anytime there is a loss of life," she said Friday. "But I think that what we have to look at is the great strides we are making in reducing the number of homicides that we had."

Contact BEN SCHMITT at 313-222-6597 or [email protected]

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