Saturday, April 17, 2010

Detroit and Crime

I was reading that Detroit has the highest crime in the United States. Now I don't live in Detroit, but it is nearby. Some Detroit residents are proud of their city, and they want to improve it. Some don't, but many of them move away.

In 2009, the top murder city of the largest 25 cities was Baltimore, and Detroit was second. Rape is a relatively better with Columbus Ohio having twice the rape rate at 72/100000 or 0.072%; Detroit in 8th place at 0.036%.  2nd in robbery behind Memphis. Detroit was first in motor vehicle theft and arson. I am not surprised about the motor vehicle theft -- people here are obsessed with cars. I would not doubt that that includes stealing them.

The FBI uniform crime statistics are somewhat controversial in that only police reported crimes are recorded. Unpoliced areas, or police departments that are intent on hiding their cities' true crime rate can skew their score. I have not heard that argument used to excuse Detroit, but other cities have claimed this. It may be the reason why a city like Columbus has such a high rape number -- because its population is more encouraged to report rape.

City boosters note that Detroit crime has declined in the last five years. They also point out that the downtown is safer than many city downtowns. This map is busy, but it shows the high crime districts pretty well. This map is clearer, but with less info.

The above figure was made by the Cleveland Plain Dealer in 2007.