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Security & Crime Detroit

Crime in Detroit, Michigan has declined by 23% from 2000 to 2004, but the city's crime-ridden areas have brought it notoriety. In 2007, the city had the sixth highest number of violent crimes among the 25 largest cities. FBI reports for 2008 show that the numbers of violent crimes dropped in the city of Detroit and the metropolitan area.

Crime is unevenly distributed throughout the city. A 2006 study showed crime in downtown Detroit (CBD) is much lower than national, state and metro averages. The Detroit Police Department's Crime Analysis Unit has reported that crimes have dropped by 24% since the introduction of casino gaming to the city. The number of homicides peaked in 1974 at 714 and again in 1991 with 615. By the end of 2007, the homicide count fell to 394 for the year, with an FBI estimated population of 860,971. According to a 2007 analysis, Detroit officials noted that about 65% to 70% of homicides in the city were confined to a narcotics catalyst.

Parts of the city have abandoned and burned out shells of buildings which have been havens for illicit drugs and crime. In April 2008, the city unveiled a $300-million stimulus plan to create jobs and revitalise neighbourhoods, financed by city bonds and paid for by earmarking about 15% of the wagering tax. The city's plans for revitalisation include 7-Mile/Livernois, Brightmoor, East English Village, Grand River/Greenfield, North-End and Osborn. Private organisations have pledged substantial funding to neighbourhood revitalisation efforts.

The city had faced many arsons in abandoned homes each year on Devil's Night, the evening before Halloween. The Angel's Night campaign, launched in the late 1990s, draws many volunteers to patrol the streets during Halloween week. The effort reduced arson: while there were 810 fires set in 1984, this was reduced to 442 in 1996.

Many of these problems have been blamed on the increased "white flight” and court-ordered busing to desegregate its schools during the 1970s which contributed to urban decay, poverty, increased unemployment, and de facto segregation of the inner city. The city was largely emptied of its remaining white population by 1980. Although "Renaissance" has been the city's phrase for development since the 1970s, many have charged Mayor Coleman Young with a polarising style that accelerated the white flight. During the administration of Dennis Archer, who succeeded Young, Detroit saw middle-class residents moving into the city, and growth in residential and commercial development. The city has improved in the early 21st century, making use of increased funding from the state to demolish condemned buildings.

In 2000, the city requested an investigation by the US Justice Department into the Detroit Police Department which was concluded in 2003, following allegations regarding its use of force and civil rights violations. From 2005 to 2006, the city proceeded with a large scale reorganisation of the Detroit Police Department, reducing the number of precincts from twelve to six "districts". The stated purpose of this reorganisation was to improve services. The reorganisation and the city's search for a new police headquarters raised concerns within the Detroit Police Department which included overcrowding issues and increased response times. Michigan and Detroit economic squeezes sustained re-organisational impetus. Police Chief Ella Bully-Cummings reassigned sworn officers from desks to squad cars, consolidating and reducing the number of precincts. Ella-Bully Cummings is now a retired Detroit Police Chief.





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