Detroit murder pace lowest in decades

George Hunter
The Detroit News

Detroit — As 2014 enters its final week, the city is on pace to record its fewest homicides since 1967.

As of Tuesday, 298 criminal homicides were recorded, a decline from 318 at the same point last year, according to Detroit Police. That's a 6 percent drop from last year and marks the second straight year of declines.

Detroit Police investigate a car crash on the 9300 block of Burt in Detroit last September.

The lowest number of homicides in Detroit in any of the past 47 years was in 2010: 308. Before that, the lowest total was 281 in 1967, the year of the Detroit summer riots.

Taking population into consideration, the murder rate per 100,000 residents is on pace to drop for the third straight year, from 55 in 2012, to 47.5 last year, to 42.6 so far in 2014.

"It's good news, but we've still got work to do," Detroit Police Chief James Craig said.

Most other violent crimes, including carjackings and robberies were also on pace to drop in 2014, although justifiable homicides are up, from 16 year-to-date in 2013 to 22.

"People feel the need to protect themselves," Craig said. "Maybe that's helping drive down robberies: Maybe the criminals are afraid they'll be confronted by someone who has a gun."

Jerome Morgan, an east side resident who volunteers to patrol the city with several neighborhood groups, said he's seen a positive change in recent years.

"Things seem to be getting better," Morgan said. "Downtown is booming, and there doesn't seem to be as much crime in the neighborhoods I go into, either."