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Poll: Crime drives Detroiters out; 40 percent expect to leave within 5 years

October 9, 2012

Detroit's crime crisis is prompting such pessimism that 40 percent of residents plan to move within five years, according to a comprehensive poll of Detroiters' attitudes about their city and leadership. Residents overwhelmingly believe the city is on the wrong track and have no faith that city leaders have a plan to turn it around. Wayne State University officials wanted change four years ago - and got it through a unique program that pools resources of nearby police agencies, analyzes real-time crime data and has helped make Midtown one of the city's most thriving neighborhoods. The CompStat program, modeled after efforts in New York and Baltimore, attacks emerging crime trends, targets repeat offenders and has cut crime in the neighborhood by 38 percent, said Lyke Thompson, director of the university's Center for Urban Studies. Since the program started, rents have soared, vacancies have dwindled and investments have skyrocketed. "There's no question in my mind that the improvements in Midtown are because of the creation of a greater sense of security," said Thompson, who helps lead the effort. "We can do this citywide if we get the right people in the room - and it's important because personal safety is the first priority."