Detroit on track to record fewest homicides since 1966, officials say

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The city of Detroit is on-track to see its fewest yearly homicides in nearly six decades, officials said Monday.

Through Nov. 30, Detroit had recorded 228 homicides — an 18% decrease over the same period last year. In 2018, Detroit had 261 homicides, the fewest number since 1966, when there were 214 homicides.

Officials credit a partnership between the city, Wayne County and the state that improves coordination among agencies and courts. It also has resulted in a 36% drop in carjackings and 13% decrease in non-fatal shootings, they said.

The coalition was formed in late 2021 by County Executive Warren Evans and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan to improve the local criminal justice system following disruptions from the coronavirus pandemic. Officials said the COVID-19 outbreak caused court dockets to back up, forced jails to release prisoners due to lack of space and made it difficult for police and the prosecutor's office to fill vacant positions.

“We are seeing record drops in gun violence in Detroit because every single part of the criminal justice system is getting past COVID obstacles and is now working again,” Duggan said.

A joint fugitive apprehension unit between the city and sheriff's office caught nearly 1,000 people wanted on outstanding felony warrants. Gun crimes were given priority.

A backlog of felony gun cases in Wayne County Circuit Court was cut from more than 4,000 in January 2022 to 1,330 through the end of last month. More than 2,000 pending pre-trial felony gun cases in Detroit's 36th District Court in January 2022 were reduced to 415.

Detroit added 200 additional officers to its ranks this year, while the Wayne County sheriff's office has begun to fill 200 vacancies. Pay was increased at both departments and at the county prosecutor's office.

Prosecutors also were placed at Detroit Public Safety Headquarters, improving communication with the city's homicide investigators.

“This collaboration is unique in that issues are identified, solutions discussed, and these solutions are implemented," Prosecutor Kym Worthy said in a news release. “It is not just talk, talk, talk. The people at the table are the decision makers and significant work is done at each meeting.”