Homicide rate in Detroit is lowest since 1967

Detroit Police Chief James Craig
Three hundred criminal homicides in Detroit for the year 2014 sound like a lot.

But Police Chief James Craig says the number is the lowest since 1967.

The homicide count the lowest it has been in 50 years, means Detroit is moving in the right direction when it comes to reducing crime.

Even so, the police department says there's still plenty of work to do because Detroit is still one America's most dangerous cities.

"While we've had the lowest number of homicides for 2014 since 1967, I still believe 300 is far too many," Craig said.

Craig spoke Tuesday on what could be considered an historic accomplishment - another drop in the city's homicide tally which is down nearly 25 percent from the past two years.

The year 2014 saw several high profile crimes including the murders of Paige Stalker and Christina Samuel - both shot to death in December on Detroit's east side.

"It's been almost two weeks they have a few leads, a few tips," said Christopher Moore, Samuel's brother. "But there's still more information out there that people have." 

Craig spoke about handling high-profile cases like Samuel and Stalker.

"We approach the (Stalker) case like we approach them all," he said. "With vigor. Certainly we're going to be thorough and like I said before, we need the public's help."

Craig says the help of the public has led to the drop in overall violent crime in the city.

Sex assaults are down nine percent, burglaries down 19 percent and carjackings, 31 percent.

"Detroit had this stigma at least when I arrived 18 months ago, of no snitching," Craig said. "I'll tell you that's not the case. Because of that cooperation, we're solving cases."

Even so unsolved murders remain an issue.

While police say it achieved a homicide closure rate of 63 percent last year, that includes murders from past years that were finally solved in 2014.

Of the 300 homicides last year about 48 percent were closed.

The murder of Stalker was not among them.

Eric Decker heads up the homicide unit.

"We've received a lot of information," Decker said. "Pretty much all the information is third party. We're working on trying to corroborate all that information and make it to first party to get to people who actually have the information, so we can move this case forward."

In 2014 Detroit police conducted 13 major raids and made more than 1,100 arrests, took 150 illegal guns off the street and seized roughly  $4.5 million.
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