Detroit ends 2023 with fewest homicides in 57 years, double-digit drops in shootings and carjackings thanks to DPD, federal, county, state, and community partnerships
- Preliminary numbers show Detroit ended 2023 with 252 criminal homicides, the fewest in any year since 1966.
- Non-fatal shootings down nearly 16%, carjackings plummet by 33 %
- Overall violent crime dropped 1%, larcenies and assaults increased
The city of Detroit finished 2023 with 252 homicides, the fewest recorded since 1966. The city also saw a 16% reduction in nonfatal shootings and a 34% reduction in carjackings a coalition of local, state and federal partners announced today.
”In 2023, many cities in the U.S. saw a reduction in crime as the Covid-era violence has begun to abate,” Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “What’s truly remarkable is that Detroit’s homicides dropped below pre-covid levels. I want to thank the men and women of the Detroit Police Department and all of the other partners in the law enforcement system that made this possible.” 252 homicides in 2023 were below the 261 homicides recorded in 2018 and are the lowest since Detroit experienced 232 homicides in 1966.
“We laid out a clear strategy at the start of 2023 to drive down gun crimes in Detroit, focusing on homicides, non-fatal shootings, and carjackings,” said Chief James White. “When federal, state, county, city, judicial, and community partners all work together, we showed in 2023 that Detroit can become a much safer community.” While official 2023 numbers may change slightly as some cases conclude ongoing investigations, preliminary data show that Detroit recorded the following numbers for those crimes:
Crime category 2022 2023 % change +/-
Homicides 309 252 -18.4%
Nonfatal Shootings 955 804 -15.8%
Carjackings 251 167 -33.5%
The city’s overall crime showed a reduction in all major categories except larcenies, which rose by 11%:
The result came from a coordinated effort of government and community agencies:
Detroit Police Department
The Detroit Police contract in November 2022 gave officers a $10,000 raise, which allowed DPD to place 200 additional officers on the street in 2023. The additional police resources were used in a targeted strategy to reduce gun violence in 2023 through the following measures:
Neighborhood Violence Prevention. Beginning in the spring, DPD identified and targeted likely locations of crowd gathering and potential neighborhood violence, including parks, block parties, community events, and potential hot spots. DPD actively monitored and deployed officers at all of these locations, strategically deployed EVOLV weapons detectors, and adopted a strategy of preventing gun violence, instead of waiting for a 911 call reporting a shooting.
Crackdown on neighborhood drag racing and drifting. The crowds forming at neighborhood drag racing and drifting events have historically been a source of fights and gun violence. DPD used active crime intelligence a rapidly deployed drag racing team to break up events before they could get started.
ShotSpotter Expanded to 39 square miles of the city, giving DPD immediate notice of gunfire and allowing a rapid response to cases that otherwise may have gone unreported.
Downtown Summer Crowd Surge plan. DPD’s downtown 12 point “Summer Surge” plan implemented in April, virtually eliminated downtown gun violence for the rest of 2023. Hundreds of thousands of visitors attending events like the Grand Prix, Jazz Fest, Taylor Swift concert and others enjoyed a safe family atmosphere. Detroit received extensive national attention throughout 2023 for the success of these events.
US Attorney Dawn Ison has led the One Detroit summer crime reduction strategy in the 8th and 9th precincts, which had been experiencing the highest rate of gun crimes. One Detroit combined increased federal prosecution for gun crimes and gang activities, combined with active prevention outreach efforts, including highly attended community “Peacenics.”
In 2023, the program resulted in major reduction in violence in the scout car areas targeted by One Detroit:
- Carjackings are down 63%
- Homicides are down 17%
- Non-fatal shootings are down 18%
- 22 individuals charged federally
ATF and DEA coordinated efforts with US Attorney Ison to dramatically increase enforcement of gun crimes:
- 1,250 guns recovered
- 5,512 casings entered into the National Integrated Ballistics Information Network (NIBIN)
- 3655 investigative leads generated by NIBIN
- 450 search warrants served
- 1,750 felony arrests
- 160 individuals charged federally
“One Detroit Partners came together to address crime in a new way. We committed to balancing enforcement work with work in the community to prevent crime from happening and work with men and women returning from prison to ensure they don’t return to crime, stated US Attorney Dawn Ison. "The report on the results of those efforts is promising, but we are just getting started. I commend Chief White and the hard-working men and women of the Detroit Police Department for their work to reduce violence in Detroit this year. Violent crime is down significantly, but we are not satisfied. We will take what we have learned and work even harder to improve what we are doing. The U.S. Attorney’s Office and all the One Detroit Partners are proud to stand with DPD to build on the comprehensive approach necessary to make sustained reductions in violent crime."
“ATF Michigan is committed to its partnership with the Detroit Police Department to reduce gun violence in the city of Detroit. Leveraging technology to identify and apprehend prolific shooters and those people responsible for committing gun violence in our community,” said Detroit Field Division Special Agent in Charge James Deir. “ATF Michigan is steadfast in its resolve to ensure the public’s safety from gun violence.”
“The FBI believes all Michigan residents deserve to live in a state free from violent crime,” said Cheyvoryea Gibson, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Michigan. “We are incredibly proud of the vast network of local, state, and federal law enforcement partners who work collectively to ensure the safety of all residents. The FBI urges the public to assist by reporting suspicious or violent behavior immediately to local law enforcement or to 1-800-CALLFBI (1-800-225-5324) or online at www.tips.fbi.gov.
Wayne County Executive Warren Evans led a coordinated effort across the County law enforcement departments and the courts. A new Wayne County Prosecutors contract provided a 15% increase, making Wayne County competitive with the surrounding counties and a new Wayne County Sheriff’s contract gave starting deputies a 24% increase, allowing Sheriff Washington to begin filling 200 vacancies.
Wayne County Prosecutor Kim Worthy increased coordination with DPD on shooting and homicide cases. The Prosecutor co-located assistant prosecutors at Detroit Public Safety Headquarters to create a seamless line of communication between the Prosecutor’s Office and DPD Homicide Unit, resulting in pending homicide warrants being reduced 25%.
Wayne County Sheriff Rafael increased accountability for defendants released on tether to the Wayne County Sheriff. Approximately 85% of tethered defendants have movement restrictions in their release orders, which are monitored and enforced on a real-time basis by the Sheriff’s Department.
The Fugitive Apprehension Service Team (FAST) unit is a joint fugitive apprehension unit of DPD and the Wayne County Sheriff. In 2023, FAST has apprehended nearly 1,000 individuals with outstanding felony warrants, prioritizing those wanted for gun crime.
Chief Judge Patricia Fresard and the Judges of the Wayne County Circuit Court reduced the backlog of felony gun cases by 3,000 cases, bringing justice and closure to victims and those accused.
Chief Judge William McConico and the Judges of the 36th District Court reduced the felony gun case backlog by nearly 1,700, restoring the court’s operations to pre-Covid levels.
Heidi Washington and the Michigan Department of Corrections enhanced enforcement for those on Probation and Parole. MDOC identified individuals who were most likely to illegally possess firearms while on probation and worked with the courts to secure updated probation orders that allowed for additional searches and compliance checks to be carried out by the MDOC and law enforcement partners. The resulting arrests helped take more guns off the streets.
Michigan State Police became a critical partner in 2023’s successful crackdown on drag racing and drifting. MSP air support helped monitor illegal activities from above and allowed the tracking and arrest of drivers of fleeing vehicles without the danger of high-speed DPD traffic pursuits. This partnership has yielded impressive results:
- 39 vehicles impounded
- 32 felony arrests
- 21 weapons recovered
- 6 stolen vehicles recovered
Governor Whitmer and the State Legislature approved $3 million to allow DPD to add 25 new staff to Detroit’s Neighborhood Police Officer and mental health units to extend proactive efforts to prevent gun violence.
DPD’s partnership with Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network (DWIHN) has become a national example of policing that is conscious of and sensitive to the fact that many of the individuals they encounter may be experiencing some form of emotional crisis. To address this, DPD and DWIHN have developed a training program and Crisis Intervention Team co-response protocol that has helped police and mental health professionals to deescalate situations and prevent individuals from harming themselves or others. In 2023, the CIT responded to 2,770 runs.
“Our partnership with DPD over the years has been extremely beneficial in connecting people to mental health services; from training 911 dispatch staff to having coresponse officers in the community," said Eric Doeh, President and CEO, DWIHN. "DWIHN is proud to offer increased access to care that can assist our most vulnerable populations.”
Stepped up neighborhood CB patrols and the growing success of Rewards TV and Crimestoppers have helped curb violence levels. Citizen involvement in 2023 was at its highest levels in years. Several major cases have been solved thanks to tips and information provided to officers, or anonymously through Rewards TV and Crimestoppers. And everyday, members of citizens radio patrols across the city help to be the eyes and ears of their neighborhood, helping to detect and deter potential criminal activity.
“History has shown that wherever you live, crime is considerably lower in areas where there is an active citizens’ radio patrol,” said Jim Ward, president of the Greenacres community radio patrol. “We have had an excellent working relationship with DPD for years because we serve as their eyes and ears in the community and their officers are consistently very responsive when one of our members calls them with a concern.”
Community Violence Intervention (CVI) groups began showing early signs of progress beginning in November. Six CVI organizations were awarded contracts to reduce violence in defined neighborhoods beginning last August. These groups are actively building violence reduction networks reaching out to schools and youth groups and focusing on neighborhood hot spots. Beginning in November, three of the groups began seeing preliminary signs of progress in violence reduction from 2022 levels.
Particularly encouraging are the results from Force Detroit in Northwest Detroit, whose neighborhood had no homicides and just 1 non-fatal shooting in November-December 2023, compared to 2 homicides and 8 shootings during the same period in 2022. If these CVI groups show success over a sustained period next year, it will contribute to further violence reduction in Detroit in 2024.
"When government supports community leadership, we are able to develop non-traditional safety solutions," said Alia Harvey-Quinn of Force Detroit. "When implemented properly, CVI strategies can predictably reduce gun violence by 40 percent and in some cases even more. We think that Detroit is on the verge of such a reduction. The key to success and sustainability will be not only the violence interruption, but also having the wrap around services the people we serve need to get on and stay on a more positive, healing path."