Tourism Economic Development Council Releases Crime Study; Downtown Detroit Crime 26 Percent Below National Average

DETROIT, June 14 /PRNewswire/ — A visitor has a significantly lower probability of becoming a crime victim in downtown Detroit than in the state of Michigan or in the entire United States, according to a new study released today by the Tourism Economic Development Council (TEDC) and prepared by Wayne State University’s Michigan Metropolitan Information Center.

The study, titled “Reality vs. Perceptions: An Analysis of Crime and Safety in Downtown Detroit,” found that Detroit’s rate of serious crime is 26 percent below the national average. In 2003, there were 3,004 serious crimes per 100,000 people reported in downtown Detroit compared to 4,063 in the United States. In Michigan’s metropolitan areas (including Detroit), the rate was 4,085 crimes per 100,000 people, while the rate across the entire state was 3,788.

“As we prepare for the MLB All Star Game, the first of several marquee events headed to Detroit, this report corrects some serious perception issues about downtown safety,” said Chris Hogan, chairman of the TEDC’s Safety and Security Tourism Action Group and senior manager, Special Security Services for DaimlerChrysler Corporation. “During the past four years, the rate of serious crime in downtown Detroit has dropped 22 percent and is very comparable to other major cities.”

Hogan added that crime rates for event visitors downtown are extremely low at 12 crimes per 100,000 people.

“Unfortunately, when a tragic crime does occur such as during the 2004 International Freedom Festival, it naturally captures the attention of the media and the public. However, such events are very rare and there isn’t a community in the world that doesn’t experience some crime.”

Added Kurt Metzger, research director at Wayne State University’s Center for Urban Studies and one of the authors of the report, this detailed study of downtown crime defines downtown to more closely approximate the central business district, the area most likely to be frequented by visitors to the city.

“The study incorporates employment and visitor counts in addition to resident population which is relatively low and therefore, dramatically overstates the crime rate per 100,000 people,” he said. “To understand the risk of crime for someone attending a downtown event, it is necessary to include in the population count the 19 million visitors who live, work and visit downtown for events such as the Auto Show.”

Metzger said the data compiled in the study was compared with the resident and employee counts of other similar U.S. downtown cities such as Chicago, Atlanta, Indianapolis and Minneapolis and found that Detroit ranked at or below the mid-point in five out of seven serious crime categories.

The report, which analyzed crime data between 2001-2004, found that all categories of crime either remained the same or declined. Highlights include:

* Homicides (9) were similar to previous years and half of 2002′s high of
18;
* Rapes declined by 36 percent;
* Robberies were down 8 percent;
* Felonious assaults reached their lowest total and showed the greatest
decrease of 44 percent;
* Burglary, also at its low point, declined by 40 percent;
* Larceny incidents declined by 24 percent;
* Motor vehicle thefts declined by 8 percent.

The TEDC, a division of the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau, commissioned the Wayne State University report. The mission of the study was to develop clear and credible crime statistics for Detroit’s visitor destination areas to correct misperceptions about safety/security issues and increase visitation by individuals and convention groups.

In addition to Hogan, members of the Safety & Security Tourism Action Group are: Greg Anderson, Vice President, Corporate and Financial Investigations, Blue Cross & Blue Shield; Carl Berry, Director of Security, North American International Auto Show; James A. Bivens Jr., Chief Bureau of Investigations, Office of the Wayne County Prosecuting Attorney; Michael J. Bouchard, Sheriff, Oakland County; Warren Evans, Sheriff, Wayne County; Richard Fenton, Senior Director of Corporate Security, Safety & Investigations, Ilitch Holdings; Mark A. Hackel, Sheriff, Macomb County; Beth Moranty, Lieutenant, Michigan State Police; Garry Christian, Assistant Chief, Detroit Police Department; Daniel Minzey, Sheriff, Washtenaw County and Reverend Edgar Vann, Second Ebenezer Church.

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