From Detroit to Bay Metropolis: These were Michigan’s safest and most crime-ridden cities in 2020
The FBI released its annual report this week, which compiles crime statistics from most law enforcement agencies across the country.
The federal law enforcement agency said 2020 will be a particularly bad year for violent crime, based on data showing a 5.2% increase compared to 2019.
“2020 has been an exceptionally challenging year for law enforcement with COVID and the restrictions in force, as well as many restrictions on law enforcement agencies and their activities,” said Robert Stevenson, executive director of the Michigan Chiefs of Police Association. “Many agencies across the state did limited traffic checks for only the most outrageous violations, did not make arrests for minor offenses for lack of shelter, they had much less contact with people than normal, and of course we continued to have fewer officers than we did have to occupy.
“So 2020 was a very interesting and challenging year all round.”
Michigan has five cities – Detroit, Saginaw, Lansing, Kalamazoo, and Pontiac – with violent crime among the 25 highest in the nation, based on 1,249 reporting parishes of more than 30,000 residents.
Oakland County’s Bloomfield Township had the lowest violent crime rate in the state and the 13th lowest violent crime rate in the country. The FBI includes murder, manslaughter, rape, robbery and grievous bodily harm in its violent crime data.
Nationwide property crime rates decreased 8.1%, which is in line with Michigan data showing that most state law enforcement agencies recorded fewer property crime reports in 2020.
Kalamzaoo took the undesirable designation of the Michigan city with the most property crimes, including break-ins, thefts, car thefts, and arson. The home of Western Michigan University also topped the state list in that category in 2019, but its national ranking rose 20 places from 63rd to 44th place over the same period.
The safest place to leave your car doors unlocked is White Lake Township, in Oakland County, based on real estate crime in cities of 30,000+ residents.
Stevenson theorized that some of the increases in violent crime across the country and in communities where it happened in Michigan were in part due to the riot and criticism of police officers following George Floyd’s death. Another important factor was the coronavirus pandemic, which caused the police to slacken off minor violations and interact less with citizens.
“One of the aftermaths of George Floyd’s murder was that there was less policing – or de-policing – and, in many cities, many police departments were essentially relying on the orders or guidelines of some city governments to take less proactive roles in crime prevention,” said Stevenson. “You are less involved in arrests for some minor crimes, and if you remove the police from the public eye, I think that is an indication of what would happen, and we saw that.
“Many large cities, especially those with some of the biggest riots that caused some of the police defunding, are some of the cities where violent crime has increased the most.”
Stevenson pointed out the importance of proactive police work and the “broken windows theory”.
“It basically means that when you address the little things, they don’t become big things,” said Stevenson.
Because of the anomalies in 2020, Stevenson is warning the public “not to read too much into the latest crime statistics.”
“When you have a city that is trending down and that went up in 2020; It was a unique year, ”he said. “Let’s see what 2021 will bring when we get back to normal. Hopefully we will see a reduction. “
2020 saw an unprecedented level of police criticism that spawned the term “Defund the Police,” which law enforcement supporters saw as a spiteful attempt to cut police budgets, and advocates argued that it was a call to shift funding to more effective tools relocate public safety. like better mental health care.
While law enforcement morale has suffered from political and public criticism, Stevenson said there was a feeling that “the worst days are behind us and things are getting better”.
More about MLive:
2018 crime data for Saginaw and Bay City
Detroit is no longer the most violent city in the nations
Detroit reports the fewest murders in half a century
Crime database 2016