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

Detroit is on track for its lowest annual homicide rate in nearly 60 years, officials announced Monday.

Through Nov. 30, 228 homicides were recorded in Detroit, an 18% decrease compared to the same period last year. Detroit had 261 homicides in 2018, the lowest number since 1966, when there were 214 homicides.

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Officials credit the partnership between the city, Wayne County and the state for improving coordination between agencies and the courts. It also resulted in a 36% decrease in carjackings and a 13% decrease in non-fatal shootings.

The coalition was formed in late 2021 by County Executive Warren Evans and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan with the goal of improving the local criminal justice system in the wake of the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Officials said the coronavirus outbreak has slowed court filings, forced prisons to release prisoners due to lack of space and made it difficult for police and prosecutors’ offices to fill vacancies.

“Detroit is seeing record declines in gun violence, as every part of our criminal justice system has overcome the hurdles of COVID-19 and is now working again,” Duggan said.

Detroit’s homicide rate is expected to be at its lowest level in more than half a century.

The city and sheriff’s office joint fugitive apprehension unit has arrested nearly 1,000 people wanted on outstanding felony warrants. Gun crimes were prioritized.

The backlog of felony firearms cases in Wayne County Circuit Court had dropped from more than 4,000 in January 2022 to 1,330 by the end of last month. More than 2,000 firearms felony cases pending pretrial in Detroit’s 36th District Court in January 2022 were reduced to 415.

The city of Detroit added 200 police officers this year, and the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office began filling 200 vacancies. Salaries were increased in both departments and the county prosecutor’s office.

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A prosecutor has also been placed at Detroit Public Safety Headquarters to improve communication with city homicide investigators.

“This collaboration is unique in that problems are identified, solutions are discussed, and those solutions are implemented,” Prosecutor Kim Worthy said in a news release. “It’s not just talking, talking, talking. The people at the table are the decision-makers, and important work is done in each meeting.”

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