Detroit on pace for lowest homicide rate in nearly 60 years, Michigan officials say
(CNN) — Detroit is on pace to record its lowest number of homicides in 57 years, according to city and county officials.
The Michigan city has tracked an “unprecedented” reduction of homicides as of November 30, down 18% in the first 11 months of 2023 compared to that period last year, according to a joint news release from the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office and the Detroit mayor’s office.
Detroit reported 228 homicides this year as of November 30, compared to 278 homicides during that period last year, the release stated.
Authorities credit the decline in homicides to a partnership between officials from Detroit, Wayne County and Michigan state that began in late 2021 to clear a backlog of cases.
“We are seeing record drops in gun violence in Detroit because every single part of the criminal justice system is getting past Covid obstacles and is now working again,” Mayor Mike Duggan said in the statement. “I have never seen such a high level of cooperation.”
In 1966, Detroit recorded 232 homicides, mayor’s office spokesperson John Roach told CNN. Since then, the lowest number of homicides recorded for the city in a year was 261 in 2018, according to the release.
Roach said there were a total of 309 homicides in Detroit last year.
A July 2023 study from the Council on Criminal Justice showed a drop in homicide rates across 30 cities in the United States, including Detroit, Chicago and Los Angeles.
Among the cities that reported data, the homicide rate was on average “9.4% lower—202 fewer homicides—during the first half of 2023 than in the first half of 2022,” according to the report.
The report showed Detroit saw a 3.7% decline in homicides during the same period.
By comparison, in Chicago, where the Chicago Police Department reported 604 homicides last year, the council’s study showed a 7.9% decline in homicides from January to June 2023 compared to the same period last year.
During the same period in Atlanta, where the city’s police department reported 168 homicides in 2022, according to the FBI, homicide rates dropped by 32.9%, the council’s data shows.
The Detroit news release also noted that during the pandemic, “court criminal dockets backed up, jails were forced to release prisoners for lack of space, and police departments and prosecutors had great difficulty filling vacant positions.”
As Covid-19-related shutdowns ended, the Wayne County Circuit Court had a backlog of more than 4,000 felony gun cases pending trial in January 2022, according to the release. Last month, the number of pending felony gun cases was 1,330 – a decrease of 67%.
“Our court team and judges have demonstrated their commitment to the community through a restructuring plan and full-force effort to return to being on-site following the COVID shutdown, conducting trials every day, directly resulting in a safer community, and positively impacting hundreds of families seeking justice,” Chief Judge Patricia Perez Fresard said in the release.
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