Detroit Police Chief encouraged but not celebrating reduction in homicides, non-fatal shootings in 2021

Detroit police presented 2021's end-of-year crime statistics on Thursday, highlighting reductions in fatal and non-fatal shootings, as well as reported robberies in the city. 

Chief James White said he was encouraged by the figures, which showed a 4% fall in homicides and a 9% fall in non-fatal shootings. But he also said the figures were too high to celebrate.

"This is what collaboration and partnership looks like," White said, adding the numbers "depict decreases in really critical areas of policing for the city of Detroit."

But "the homicides and shootings are still too high."

Police divided the data into trends in the first five months of the year - before White was chief - and after he came on and implemented his five-point plan last summer. 

According to Assistant Chief David LeValley, the first five months of 2021 showed 23 more homicides than in that same period in 2020. There were also 118 more non-fatal shootings in that same time period compared to 2020.

But the year ended with 14 fewer homicides and 105 fewer non-fatal shootings. 

Shortly after White took over the police force, following former chief James Craig's retirement from position in May, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan authorized 4,000 more hours of overtime per weekend for crowd management in the summer. 

He also opened up an additional 2,000 hours of overtime per weekend for drifting and street racing enforcement. In addition, White implemented his 5-point summer crime enforcement plan, which featured:

  • Increased presence of police
  • Stricter noise enforcement
  • Prioritize drag racing policing
  • Parking lot and code enforcement
  • More community engagement

Total violent offenses however still rose compared to 2020. They were up 3%, partly due to increases in occurrences of rape and aggravated assault. There was also a 24% increase in stolen vehicle reports. 

White was joined by the Wayne County executive and sheriff, and members of the U.S. Attorneys office, DEA, FBI, ATF, and the U.S. Marshals Service.