DETROIT (WWJ) - Interim Police Chief Chester Logan says America has a problem with guns and Detroit is the epicenter.
Detroit officials are reporting the city had 386 criminal homicides in 2012, up about 12 percent from the previous year.
Mayor Dave Bing on Thursday was joined by police officials in announcing the total, up from 344 from 2011.
Overall, however, they said crime is down in the city 2.63 percent.
"The release of annual crime statistics reminds us of the senselessness of crime and violence in our community; the challenges facing our police force; and the need to improve conflict resolution and other anti-crime initiatives," Bing said.
Detroit police said they had 461 death investigations in 2012, up from 414 the previous year. Of the 2012 total, 50 of the deaths were determined not to be homicides; 25 were ruled justifiable homicides, as defined by the FBI. Detroit police also investigated 39 suicides; 6 accidental deaths, 2 deaths from natural causes;,and 3 deaths that occurred in another jurisdiction.
Among the city's major crime categories declining in 2012 were aggravated assault, larceny, burglary and rape. Along with murder, crimes that showed a 2012 increase were robbery and auto theft. - View crime stats here (.pdf format) -
In addition, police say the number of non-fatal shootings increased slightly last year.
Logan said fixing the gun problem will take more than putting a cop on every corner.
"If I had a thousand more police officers in Detroit, the way things are right now, I don't know that kind of impact that would have, so I'm not asking for more police officers," Logan said. "I am asking this community to be aware of some of the problems that we're facing."
Logan said he will take "a certain amount of blame" for the spike in gun violence in the city, but he adds it's not an issue exclusive to Detroit.
"Gun play is a national problem; the state of mental health is a national problem. It's one heck of a problem that we as a society have to solve," said Logan. "America has a gun problem but the epicenter seems to be here in Detroit."
Mayor Bing thanked officers and called on citizens to help the police department by speaking out against gun violence and crime.
"We've just lost respect for each other, we've lost respect for life," said Bing. "In some kind of way, all of us have to get back into this for the next generation. We've got to get back into the heads, hearts and minds of our young people and its going to take all of us to do that."
Bing said he would support training new police recruits, but no plans have been crafted at this time.
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