One of the most regrettable changes Detroit faced in the last year was a significant rise in homicides. 379 murders had taken place in the city as of Dec. 30, the Detroit News reports.
It’s about a ten percent increase over the 344 murders that occurred in 2011, a milestone that had already been surpassed by Thanksgiving of 2012.
The figure brings the city’s homicide rate to 53 per 100,000 residents, according to the News. That’s the second highest for a city of more than 200,000 residents after New Orleans, which had a rate of 54 per 100,000 residents.
A high number of deaths involving children this year prompted local political and community leaders to pledge to curb the violence. The city’s high murder rate also caused local funeral home operators to stage a hearse parade through several Detroit neighborhoods this past January.
2012 has seen a decline in some crimes, including rape, burglary and aggravated assault.
Earlier this month, Mayor Dave Bing announced the reopening of thirteen mini stations in coming months to improve policing in neighborhoods.
Still, Detroit police are struggling to get a handle on crime in an economic environment where less funds are available and precinct hours have been cut.
Concerns about reduced staff, a 10 percent pay cut and 12-hour shifts among police officers prompted some officers to hold a “enter Detroit at your own risk” rally at a downtown baseball game back in October.