Monday, November 14, 2011

For Detroit, Being Number 1 Is A Community Tragedy

Homicide is one of those crimes whose statistics don't seem to make sense. Sometimes you can have a banner year for all other crime stats and the homicide numbers end up going the other direction. There was a story this weekend over at the Detroit Free Press this weekend that looks at the tragedy these statistics often represent for Detroit.

"You have a window that's real small to be able to get as much as you can," Jimenez said. "You do your best work on a case in the first 48 hours because it just happened. Your witnesses are fresher. Your witnesses haven't talked to other people." In the past decade, Detroit's yearly homicide closure rate has ranged from 35% to 45%, but climbed to 54% in 2010, Godbee said. The national average is 65%. For cities with populations of 500,000 to 1 million, the closure rate was 57% in 2010. In 2010, the city recorded 308 homicides, according to the department -- a 15% decline from 2009 and the fewest since 1967, a year of rioting and accelerated flight from the city.

But the number of killings has spiked this year. The department recorded 301 homicides through Nov. 6, a 19% increase for the same period year over year.

"When you slow down the bodies coming in the front door, it gives your investigators more time to actually work on cases," Godbee said. "But when you got two, three, four bodies coming in a night and you have to stop your workload to go triage those cases and start your investigation on those, that has an effect on the ability for the homicide investigator to really dig into their cases."

The entire article is a good read. You can read it here. Looking at the crushing workload they have there in Detroit this year, it makes me glad I work in the sleepy little burg where I do. We may have a bump in the numbers on occasion, but nothing like they have had.

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