A glimpse at Detroit’s crime

Since 1987, the number of homicides annually in Detroit has trended downward from its most recent peak of 686 in 1987. For 2011, the 344 homicides recorded by police was an increase over the previous year (310 in 2010). Given the population decline occurring in the City of Detroit – from 951,270 in 2000 to an estimated 685,293 at the end of 2011 – the number of homicides for 2011 (344) translates into a homicide rate of over 50 per 100,000 residents.  Consequently, Detroit’s 2011 homicide rate is at its highest level since 2006 when there were 420 recorded murders.  The 2011 rate was nearly 10 times higher than the State of Michigan and national rates. The 344 Detroit homicides in 2011represent more than half (55%) of all homicides that occurred in the State of Michigan.

The occurrence of robberies generally shows strong correspondence to the local unemployment rate.  In certain cases, such as in 1980 and 1992, the occurrence of robberies increased the year following an increase in unemployment.  However, in 2009, Detroit’s unemployment rate rose to 25 percent from 16 percent the year before. There were about 815 robberies that occurred in 2009 and in 2008 there about 830; this shows a decrease in robberies despite the large increase in unemployment.

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