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Detroit ends 2019 with 272 homicides, preliminary statistics show

George Hunter
The Detroit News

Editor's note: The rate of homicides in Detroit per 100,000 people has been corrected to 40.6.

Detroit — The city ended 2019 with 272 homicides — up slightly from last year — but recorded fewer than 300 killings for only the fourth time since 1967, according to preliminary statistics.

Homicides in Detroit rose 5% in 2019 over the previous year, when there were 259 killings in the city, according to the police figures.

The overall violent crime drop of 4% in 2019 was driven in part by a 20% reduction in carjackings, which dropped from 300 to 240 as of Thursday, police chief James Craig told The News last week.

While final 2019 nonfatal shooting statistics were not available Thursday, as of last week there were 764, up 3% from 739 in 2018, according to police.

Detroit police have planned a press conference Friday to discuss 2019 crime data.

The number of slayings in Detroit, which has about 670,000 residents, translates to a rate of about 40.6 homicides per 100,000 people.

In 1967, there were 20 homicides per 100,000 people when Detroit's population was about 1.4 million. By 1980, there were 45.6 killings per 100,000 people; in 1990, the rate was 56.6; in 2000, it was 41.6; and in 2010, 43.

The overall violent crime drop of 4% in 2019 was driven in part by a 20% reduction in carjackings, which dropped from 300 to 240 as of Dec. 26, police chief James Craig told The News last week.

A recent wave of gang violence pushed the homicide and nonfatal shooting numbers up, the chief said.

"We had a pretty nasty uptick in shootings about a month ago," Craig said. "We found that three gangs were largely responsible. Strategically, we were able to quell the violence by working closely with what I call street advocates — former gang members who have tremendous influence on the streets.

"Going into 2020, we’re going to continue that strategy," Craig said. "It's important to have the right individuals on the ground who have influence to those prone to engage in gang activity or shootings."

Other crime statistics in Detroit as of last week include:

  • --Aggravated assaults: 9,304, down from 9,821 in 2018
  • --Robberies: 2,300, up from 2,262 in 2018
  • --Sexual assaults: 853, down from 879 in 2018

Criminal homicides in Detroit

2019: 272*

2018: 261

2017: 267

2016: 302

2015: 295

2014: 300

2013: 333

2012: 386

2011: 344

2010: 308

2009: 364

2008: 342

2007: 392

2006: 354

2005: 374

2004: 387

2003: 369

2002: 402

2001: 395

2000: 396

1999: 415

1998: 430

1997: 469

1996: 428

1995: 475

1994: 541

1993: 579

1992: 595

1991: 615

1990: 582

1989: 624

1988: 630

1987: 686

1986: 648

1985: 635

1984: 514

1983: 581

1982: 515

1981: 502

1980: 549

1979: 451

1978: 498

1977: 478

1976: 662

1975: 607

1974: 714

1973: 672

1972: 601

1971: 577

1970: 495

1969: 439

1968: 389

1967: 281

* Based on preliminary crime data