Detroit Chief Cites Crime Progress, Disputes FBI

Chief James Craig says the city’s violent crime is down 11 percent in four years. He says the FBI is wrong to count Detroit as the nation’s most violent big city.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig said there’s been a double-digit reduction in violent crime since he came to the city in 2013, but the improvement is not always easy for residents to process, the Detroit News reports. “If you’ve been a victim of a crime, or you have a friend or relative who have been victims, you’re not going to feel safe,” Craig said. “The hard-working, good people in the neighborhoods sometimes feel like there’s nothing happening, when that’s not the case.” Since 2013, violent crime is down more than 11 percent. The city still averages about six killings and 20 shootings weekly. FBI data released last month show violent crime in Detroit surged 15.7 percent last year, an increase that ranked it as the nation’s most violent big city. Craig disputes that conclusion, saying an antiquated software system caused some crimes to be double reported.

“We’ve definitely made progress, but there’s a culture that’s not going to change overnight,” Craig said. “Where there’s poverty, there’s crime, and Detroit is at or near the bottom as far as poverty goes. There’s only so much the police can do. There’s a serious cultural problem that needs to be addressed.” There have been more than 24,000 homicides in the city since 1967, more than three times the number of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan combined since 2001. In the past 10 years, there have been more than 3,500 homicides and 12,000 nonfatal shootings in Detroit. Property crimes are everyday occurrences in many neighborhoods. From 2013-16, there were 145,307 reported property crimes. Thousands more went unreported because residents don’t expect police to respond.