With only a few days left in 2012, Detroit is poised to see its highest murder rate in nearly two decades.
As of Dec. 16, there were 375 homicides—more than the total each year since 2008, according to Detroit Police Department statistics.
With the current known number of homicides, which is sure to grow by year’s end, Detroit’s homicide rate is roughly 53 homicides per 100,000 residents. The city’s rate hasn’t been this high since 1994, when it was roughly 54 homicides per 100,000 residents. In 2006, the rate hit 52 per 100,000.
Meanwhile, New York City, with more than 8 million residents, recently reported a historic low of 414 homicides so far this year, putting the city’s rate at 5 homicides per 100,000 residents.
The majority of the homicides were the result of gunshots, and most of the victims were black men.
During an interview with the Free Press earlier this month, following a quadruple homicide on Detroit’s east side, Inspector Dwane Blackmon, head of the Detroit police homicide section, said there were an abundance of killings this year born from arguments and disputes and committed by people who know their victims.
“What I’ve seen this year is a good third or more of our cases fall into that category,” he said.
Carolyn Bradshaw, who said her 35-year-old son, Ernesto Bradshaw, was shot to death in April after his home was broken into, is distraught by the violence.
“It’s so sad that our young black men are killing each other like that,” she said. “I know there’s hard times, but just to take a life for a couple dollars, I’m very saddened by it.”
Many reasons are given for the violence: Drugs, too many illegal guns on the streets, lack of jobs, poor education opportunities.