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Detroit Police Chief Boasts Drop in Violent Crime

Detroit saw a reduction in violent crimes, including homicides and nonfatal shootings, police announced today.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig said that the city ended 2013 with 333 homicides, not including 15 homicides deemed justifiable. That's down from 386, not including 25 justifiable homicides, in 2012, when the city saw its highest homicide rate in nearly two decades.

There were also fewer nonfatal shootings, down to 1,161 in 2013 compared with 1,263 in 2012, Craig said during a news conference this morning.

According to police, the city has seen a reduction in aggravated assaults, robberies, sexual assaults, carjackings, burglaries and stolen vehicles over last year. Larcenies were up, police said.

"The Detroit Police Department is a model of sustained policing excellence that places our neighborhoods and people first," Craig said.

Craig said there was a 7% overall reduction in crime in 2013. He said he has set a "stretch" goal of 10% overall crime reduction in 2014.

Craig said the department also saw a 50% clearance rate for 2013 homicides, which he said was an improvement but "not acceptable," noting that the goal for this year is to have a 70% clearance rate.

When Craig took over the department in July, he made sweeping changes, including eliminating virtual precincts and 12-hour shifts. The department has been utilizing CompStat, a crime statistics reporting system, and it launched the Gang Intelligence Surveillance Transit Unit, Vice Squad and Tactical Response Unit. Chief Craig also overhauled his administrative staff, and the department conducted major raids on crime-ridden apartment complexes and a neighborhood.

Copyright 2014 - Detroit Free Press

McClatchy-Tribune News Service