The city of Detroit has lost so many citizens, the population is down to near 700,000 from 2 million. BY all accounts, crime has run rampant in the city to the point that Detroit Police Chief James E. Craig has urged citizens to buy a gun and do not wait for police. Now, the Motor City has a new nickname: Carjack City. So far there have been 191 reported carjackings. According to Detroit law enforcement officials, many residents are afraid to even pump gas and more are openly carrying guns for protection. The City of Detroit’s property crime rate is 57.92 percent which is almost double the national media average of 28.6 percent. As of last week, year to date crime totals for 2014 in Detroit are 17,233, with an average of 396 crimes per square mile.
The reason for the increase in carjackings is partly because Detroit citizens are making their homes and cars more secure with an increase in alarms, burglar bars and car anti-theft features. Subsequently for criminals, it’s easier to surprise a driver with keys in the ignition with a carjacking. The city has taken steps to combat this particular crime on a proactive and reactive level. These steps include a special taskforce to go after suspects and a program for gas station owners who have upgraded security for their businesses. For some residents, going to gas stations has become so risky that they go in groups or pairs to avoid a carjacking.
Here are a few comparisons to other cities with high carjacking rates per capita:
Newark, New Jersey, with a population of 280,000: 382 carjackings in 2014, a per capita rate that is higher than Detroit’s.
Memphis, Tennessee, with a population of 655,000: 400 carjackings from 2011 through 2013.
El Paso, Texas, city with a population of 670,000: 15 carjackings in 2014