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Is Crime in Detroit Different than in Other Urban Centers?

January 29 2013 | no comments

Crime — or the fear of it — is a part of every day life for many Detroiters.

Former Detroit Police Chief and UDM professor Ike McKinnon says, “In Detroit we have grown to accept a certain amount of crime.”  According to McKinnon, “The reality is we have a problem.  The perception is that the problems are worse than they are.”

But they are significant.  Last year there were 379 murders in Detroit.

Interim Police Chief Chester Logan told Detroit 2020, “When we first released our homicide statistics, it was painful.  But it also gave us a chance to make the City of Detroit aware of what some of our problems are.”

To give you a sense of the problems, Detroit 2020 took a look at major crimes in Detroit on one day, January 2nd, the first work day of the new year.

7:30 am  – Two men, one in his twenties, one in his forties, went into a gas station on Gratiot.  They pulled a gun and stole money and merchandise.

10:15 am – A 65 year old man was outside his home near Magnolia and Tillman when two men approached him.

The victim told us, “They came up from behind me and put a gun to my head.”  The men took his money and then, “He beat me and kicked me on the side.”

11:00 am -  The 68-year old owner of a dollar store on West Warren was beaten and shot by a holdup man.

It’s the kind of crime that Detroit may see more often than many other cities.

Interim Chief Logan says, “I think the biggest difference you’ll find in Detroit is the level of violence.”

12:40 pm – A 30 year old man was carjacked at Whittier and Roxbury

5:30 pm – A carjacking at John R and Mack

Ike McKinnon says, “I don’t think there’s any city like us of working class people as such and that has that many people who are out of work and that have suffered a depression type situation that the City of Detroit has over the last ten years or so.”

6:20 pm – A 45 year old man was shot while in the 12800 block of East Eight Mile

7:00 pm – At Faust and Warren a 16 year old driver accidentally hit another car.  A man and woman in their twenties got out of the second car, pulled a gun and took the teen’s Ford Fusion

McKinnon says younger criminals can be scary.  In the past, bad guys might rob you and then try to get away.  Now, “The young criminals, they’ll kill you and they’ll kill somebody else and they don’t care.  They’ll go to jail because their friends are in jail.”

Interim Chief Logan said more jobs will lead to fewer crimes.  He quoted a priest form L.A., “He said ‘the best protection against a bullet is a job.’ And that’s what we need in this community.  We need jobs.”

It’s still early, but so far the crime rate is down from where it was at this point in 2012.  And the interim chief promises an announcement in the next two weeks about new efforts to fight crime.

“I think its going to be one of the more exciting things that we’ve done, probably in the history of the city in terms of eradicating crime.”

Stay tuned.

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