Detroit set to record lowest homicide numbers in six decades

A gun violence reduction coalition comprising city, state, and county governments touted increased coordination among departments as a catalyst for this positive change in Detroit.

As of Nov. 30, Detroit recorded 48 fewer homicides than in 2022. If the year ends without any significant incidents, the Motor City could record its safest year in six decades in terms of homicide.

Data released Monday by a gun violence reduction coalition involving city, state, and county governments also shows that Detroit has seen 36% fewer car thefts and that nonfatal shootings decreased by 13%, per the Detroit Free Press.

Wayne County Executive Warren Evans, a lead member of the coalition, said that “leadership, teamwork, and a commitment to community” allowed Detroit to hit this safety milestone.

The coalition, created in 2021 as courts nationwide saw case backlogs mount, funneled resources to the newly created FAST unit, a group of officers who focus on tracking down hundreds of people with outstanding felony warrants for gun crimes, the Detroit Police Department, and the Wayne County prosecutor’s office and the sheriff’s office.

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“COVID highlighted what we knew: We had some systems that were overworked and needed to be fixed. But most systems don’t get fixed because there are too many layers of government involved,” said Evans, according to the Detroit News.

The coalition touted increased coordination between departments as a catalyst for this positive change. Prosecutors reportedly worked closely inside police precincts as part of a revived “community prosecutors” initiative. 

The coalition said Monday that it was also able to fill open agency positions more easily after increasing wages. In September, the Wayne County prosecutor’s office announced it would raise starting salaries to $75,000, from $60,500.

According to the Detroit Free Press, one of the coalition’s main priorities was to reduce a felony gun case backlog in Wayne County Circuit Court. Last month, the court, which had a backlog of 4,000 at the beginning of 2022, had only 1,330 pending cases.

“We have and continue to tackle serious issues — gun violence, lack of resources, backlogs, training, recruitment and retention, police officer no-shows, and other system failures that needed fixing. Many of these are longstanding problems that we have been successfully tackling in a very meaningful way,” said Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy.

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