Report: Sterling Heights crimes less than U.S. average

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

Falling crime numbers make Sterling Heights one of Michigan’s safest communities with populations over 100,000, newly released federal statistics show.

The Macomb County municipality saw 26 percent fewer property crimes than the national average for similarly sized cities, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigations Preliminary Crime Statistics Report unveiled this week. The number of violent crimes reported there last year was 38 percent below the national average and significantly lower than in cities such as Grand Rapids, Lansing or Warren, the analysis found.

Besides that, Police Chief John Berg noted an overall decline in several categories. Reported burglaries fell from 221 in 2014 to 200; property crimes dipped 250 in that time, to 1,776; larcenies declined by 219 to 1,431, according to the report. There were also 10 fewer motor vehicle thefts (145), while arsons and robberies each dropped slightly.

“This data validates our standing as a very safe community,” said Sterling Heights Mayor Michael C. Taylor in a statement. “We are proud of the officers who demonstrate daily the hard work and professionalism that produces such excellent results.”

The figures were hailed a day after figures released for Detroit showed the Motor City experienced a 13-percent drop in violent crime last year compared to 2014, but still has the second highest rate for municipalities of more than 100,000 residents.

Sterling Heights officials acknowledged their results also displayed a troubling trend. After years without homicides, the city of more than 132,000 residents reported five in 2015.

Berg said the spike was an anomaly and suspects were arrested in each case. No homicides have been reported so far in 2016, he wrote in a city memo.

Meanwhile, property crimes fell 12 percent from the year before and “are substantially lower than the other comparable communities,” his notice read.

“It is the Sterling Heights Police Department’s utmost goal to keep our residents safe, and the FBI Report is confirmation that our officers are doing an excellent job,” Berg said in a statement. “I’m proud that the Police Department is a catalyst for keeping Sterling Heights one of the safest large cities in the United States.”