If you listened to the mainstream media, you would hear that homicides are way up, but “it’s not nearly as bad as the crack wars of the early 90s.” Of course, this is a falsehood. Dozens of major US cities set new all-time records for their highest homicide rates ever in 2020 or 2021.
Another tale the media is reporting is that Detroit is a shining example of a major city that is bringing down homicides. This is yet another blatant falsehood. The population of Detroit has been plunging since the race riots of the late 1960s. It is still falling now. Large areas of the city are a checkerboard of empty lots as hundreds of abandoned homes have been demolished. Fewer people translates to fewer overall murders, even if the rate stays the same.
In the early 90s, Detroit had one of the highest homicide rates in the Western hemisphere. Homicide rates came down as Americans embraced new tough-on-crime policies, and the average age went up.
However, the media crafts creatively deceptive headlines to create the illusion of declining murders. The reality is that homicides rates spiked in Detroit for 2020 and 2021. If it were not because the average age in Detroit is much higher now than it was in the early 90s, Detroit would easily be experiencing its highest homicides rates in the city’s history.
Year: Total Homicides (Population, Homicide Rate)
1987: 686 (1,080k, 63.5 per 100k) highest rate in the city’s history
1991: 615 (1,020k, 60.3 per 100k)
1994: 541 (991k, 54.5 per 100k)
1995: 475 (989k, 48 per 100k)
2012: 386 707k, 54.6 per 100k) Highest rate since 1991
2018: 259 (678k, 38.2 per 100k) lowest rate since at least the 70s
2019: 271 (675k, 40.1 per 100k) second lowest rate since at least the 70s
2020: 323 (639k, 50.5 per 100k) highest rate since 2012
2021: 309 (636k, 48.6 per 100k) second highest since 2012, third highest since 1994