Traverse City Record-Eagle


December 31, 2013

Detroit, Flint police say homicides drop in 2013

DETROIT (AP) — Detroit and Flint set their lowest homicide numbers in years.

As of Tuesday morning, 332 criminal homicides were reported in Detroit compared with 384 at the same time last year, according to Sgt. Michael Woody.

The city had 386 homicides in all of 2012 and 344 the year before. The police department reported 308 in 2010 and 364 homicides in 2009.

The city distinguishes criminal homicides, in which charges are or can be filed, from justifiable homicides.

“Keep in mind that while everybody is focused on numbers, to us these numbers are real people. These numbers represent lives that have been saved or spared from gunfire,” Woody said Tuesday. “One homicide, one loss of life is one too many.”

Detroit has one of the highest murder and violent crime rates in the country, but an increased focus on fighting street crime and monitoring crime hotspots has contributed to police success in bringing those numbers down.

Chief James Craig revamped the department’s command staff and implemented a gang intelligence surveillance unit, vice squad and a 24-hour detective desk.

Violent and property-related crimes also are down.

In November, the city had a streak of more than 36 hours where no homicides or non-fatal shootings were reported. That came just weeks after three men were shot and killed and six others wounded in a gambling room in a Detroit barbershop.

The day after the barbershop shootings, a 23-year-old pregnant woman and a 25-year-old man were shot to death, and a 75-year-old man was critically wounded outside a Detroit home. The dead woman’s baby, which was delivered by cesarean section, later died.

“Although we are excited to see the numbers decline, we recognize that our fight has only just begun,” Woody said. “There is much work to be done and we are looking forward to a collaborative effort between our citizens, our community organizations and clergy members in 2014 to help us drive the violence down even further.”

Flint, about 50 miles northwest of Detroit, reported 52 homicides as of Monday. The city had a record high of 67 in 2012, according to The Flint Journal.

The presence of about 40 state police troopers either patrolling Flint streets or working in the detective bureau has helped, said Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton.

There were 66 homicides committed in Flint in 2010 and 57 the following year.

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