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Detroit leaders: We're "making progress" on violent crime

detroit police car
Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio
Police Chief James Craig credits crime-fighting initiatives like CeaseFire with bringing down violent crime in the city.

Detroit leaders say violent crime is trending downward in the city, a fact Mayor Mike Duggan and law enforcement officials touted Thursday as they released the city’s complete, but still unofficial, 2017 crime statistics. 

Police Chief James Craig admits that while the numbers are looking better, Detroit is still one of the most violent big cities in the country.

“We’re not saying we’re successful. We’re saying we’re making progress, and we want to sustain the progress,” Craig said. “And we’re doing it.”

FBI data showed Detroit as the nation’s most violent big city in 2016.Craig has said the FBI’s numbers are wrong, and blamed that problem on faulty reporting software. He said DPD now uses new reporting software and error rates are close to zero.

Detroit’s own preliminary data show the city logged 267 criminal homicides in 2017.  That number doesn’t include an additional 15 homicides deemed “justifiable.”

Craig and other leaders credited a number of crime-fighting initiatives that involve multiple law enforcement agencies as well as citizen participants, including one called CeaseFire.

Craig says CeaseFire homes in on shootings deemed gang-related. In those cases, Detroit police, the Wayne County prosecutor, and federal agencies combine to bring in known gang members to talk “carrot and stick” options.

“Our promise to the people that we call in is, if there is one shooting, the full effect of law enforcement is going to focus on you and your group,” Craig said.

Craig says murders and shootings fell the most in precincts with CeaseFire. The plan is to take it citywide by the end of this year.

Craig and others also credit Duggan’s Project Green Light, which transmits real-time video footage from gas stations, party stores, and other high-crime spots directly to Detroit Police headquarters, with a reported 43 percent drop in carjackings over the past two years. Duggan hopes to expand the program even further this year.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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