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As big cities struggle to control crime, Detroit quietly reports sizable drops

DPD officials optimistic, but know summer months will tell the story
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Posted at 3:28 PM, May 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-09 21:18:51-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — While major cities like New York City and Chicago continue to report surging crime, Detroit is telling a different story.

Quietly, the city has reported double-digit decreases in violent crime through the first four months of the year, with big drops in homicides, sex assaults, aggravated assaults and robberies.

Officials credit Chief James White’s 5-point plan, introduced last year shortly after his appointment, stressing crowd management and code enforcement, police presence, noise enforcement, traffic enforcement and community engagement.

“We follow the numbers and we follow the data sets all the time,” said Asst. Chief Charles Fitzgerald. “We meet and meet and meet and talk about where specifically we need to be.”

So far in 2022, the number of homicides has fallen from 102 last year to 82 this year, a reduction of 20%.

Sex assaults have decreased from 256 at this point in 2021 to 209 today, while aggravated assaults have fallen from 3,598 to 2,942.

Non-fatal shootings, a subcategory of aggravated assaults, have fallen by 26%. The city also reported 33 fewer robberies than at this point in 2021.

Carjackings, however, have risen since last year, up from 60 in 2021 to 72 so far.

Nowhere is the drop in crime more evident than in Southwest Detroit, home of Detroit's 4th precinct.

At this point last year, there had been eight criminal homicides. This year, there’s been just one.

Diana Cooley, owner of Evie’s Tamales, says a steady police presence makes all the difference.

“We do take care of them, and they take care of us,” she said.

Across the street at Sochi’s Gift Shop, owner Gloria Rosas said she's noticed a positive difference in her neighborhood, pointing to the recent Cinco de Mayo parade.

“A few years ago, there was a lot of violence during the parade,” she said. “But this year, it was beautiful. No incidents, no fights. No nothing.”

Commander John Serda leads the 4th Precinct and credits Mayor Mike Duggan approving more overtime hours to keep cops on the street along with thedepartment’s data-driven approach.

“We look at hot spots,” Serda said. “We divert our special ops to certain areas where we see crime trending, and certain types of crime.”

While the story so far in 2022 is promising, officials know that the true test comes once temperatures rise and crime follows.

“This is not going to solve itself over night,” said Asst. Chief Fitzgerald. “The numbers are down but we are certainly not celebrating, because one is one too many.”