Frankel Crime Trends Michigan


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Current Crime Trends in the State Of Michigan
May 2011

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Frankel Crime Trends Michigan

  1. 1. Paul Frankel, Ph.D. 1 Michigan Crime Trends Paul Frankel, Ph.D.Current Crime Trends in Michigan May 2011 719/237-0338
  2. 2. Paul Frankel, Ph.D. 2 Michigan Crime Trends Current Crime Trends in Michigan: Summary Analysis and Policy RecommendationsThere are many forms of quantitative and qualitative data that can be assessed and presented toanalyze trends in Michigan crime data over the last five to ten years. Data can be bothquantitative such as the number of incidents of a given crime annually or the rate of victimizationper State population, or qualitative reflecting narrative reports from law enforcement personnelor other affiliated staff such as judges, lawyers, victims, and the general public. Moreover, themethod of data collection can vary ranging from automated information systems with customuser interfaces, to paper-and-pencil worksheets or spreadsheets. One further caveat is that datacan be presented either in an aggregate form such as that presented by the FBI’s Uniform CrimeReporting (UCR) summary data, or in a much more detailed case-level or incident-based analysisas provided the last two years by the Michigan Incident Crime Reporting System (MICR).1With respect to the quality and comprehensiveness of Michigan crime data, the level of analysisis at times ambiguous. For example, some aggregate reports may present crime incidents,arrests, victims, percent cleared cases, or some combination. It is important to note that everyeffort has been made to present annual incidents of different categories of crimes, with aparticular emphasis on severe crimes such as homicide and sexual assault, and those propertycrimes that touch thousands of good Michigan citizens each year.HomicideThere is little doubt that murder is one of the most serious criminal offenses. The precise legaldefinition of murder may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and is defined generally as theunlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought. The definition of murder hasevolved under modern statutes, and encompasses four varieties of a wanton disregard for humanlife: (1) intentional murder; (2) a killing that resulted from the intent to do serious bodily injury;(3) a killing that resulted from a depraved heart or extreme recklessness; and (4) murdercommitted by an accomplice during the commission of, attempt of, or flight from certainfelonies.2In Michigan, the incidence of the crime of murder has been steadily decreasing since 2005, withan uncharacteristic upswing in 2006. Although only partial year data is available for 2010, ascan be seen in Figure 1, this most heinous crime has been decreasing or remaining relativelystable over the last five years.345678 Moreover, in 2009, the overwhelming majority of murder1 Retrieved 5/10/2011 from Retrieved 5/10/2011 from Data for 1996, 2001, and 2005 retrieved 5/10/2011 from Data for 2006 retrieved 5/10/2011 from Data for 2007 retrieved 5/10/2011 from,1607,7-123-1645_3501_4621-204981--,00.html.6 Data for 2008 retrieved 5/10/2011 from,1607,7-123-1645_3501_4621-228589--,00.html.7 Data for 2009 retrieved 5/10/2011 from,1607,7-123-1645_3501_4621-243369--,00.html. 719/237-0338
  3. 3. Paul Frankel, Ph.D. 3 Michigan Crime Trendsvictims in Michigan were male (78%), disproportionally African American (70%), and morethan half (54%) of victims were killed by handguns.9Figure 1. Trends for the Crime of Homicide in Michigan, 1996-2010.Forcible RapeRape may be one of the most underreported crimes in America, due to the fear, mental healthtrauma, and stigma attached to the reporting of sexual assault. Obtaining an accurate breadth andscope of this crime is a challenge for law enforcement and, sadly, it is estimated that more thanone million Americans are sexually assaulted each year.10Although traditionally limited to forcible attacks of men on woman, the definition of rape hasevolved and broadened over time. The perception of what constitutes rape has changed, yet canbe defined generally as unlawful sexual activity, usually sexual intercourse, carried out forciblyor under threat of injury and against the will of the victim.11According to Michigan statute, rape is the carnal knowledge of a person, forcibly and againstthat persons will, or where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/hertemporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity. Rape classification includes assault torape and attempted rape, and only those offenses where the victim and offender are of theopposite sex. Other types of sexual penetration are not included.12As can be seen in Figure 2, In Michigan, the incidence of rape has been declining rapidly since2005, with a sharp decrease between 2006-2007 (-17.8%).131415161718 Unsurprisingly, in 2009,8 Partial year data for 2010 retrieved 5/10/2011 from Retrieved 5/10/2011 from Retrieved 5/10/2011 from Retrieved 5/10/2011 from Retrieved 5/10/2011 from Data for 1996, 2001, and 2005 retrieved 5/10/2011 from Data for 2006 retrieved 5/10/2011 from Data for 2007 retrieved 5/10/2011 from,1607,7-123-1645_3501_4621-204981--,00.html. 719/237-0338
  4. 4. Paul Frankel, Ph.D. 4 Michigan Crime Trends97% of victims were female, most victims were age 10-19, and the crimes predominantlyoccurred in a home or residence.19 Further, dispelling the stereotype of “stranger rape,” the dataindicate that most victims and offenders were acquainted (or even family members), and therelatively high incidence of victims ages 0-10 is most challenging for law enforcementintervention, child abuse prevention initiatives, and the mental health system.Figure 2. Trends for the Crime of Forcible Rape in Michigan, 1996-2010.Aggravated AssaultAggravated assault is a crime of violence or the threat of violence against another person, andoften results in personal bodily injury involving the use of a weapon.20 There are exceptions anddefenses in the case of aggravated assault such as defense of self or diminished responsibility,and precise definitions may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.According to Michigan statute, aggravated assault is defined as an unlawful attack by one personupon another wherein the offender uses a weapon or displays it in a threatening manner, or thevictim suffers obvious severe or aggravated bodily injury.21 Aggravated assault is substantiallymore severe than simple battery, and an estimated 27,000 incidents of aggravated assault werereported by Michigan law enforcement in 2009.22 Clearly this is a serious crime resulting in[potentially] severe bodily injury that affects thousands of victims each year.As can be seen in Figure 3, the crime of aggravated assault has been on a definite downwardtrend since 2005. In fact, the incidence of aggravated assault has decreased more than one-16 Data for 2008 retrieved 5/10/2011 from,1607,7-123-1645_3501_4621-228589--,00.html.17 Data for 2009 retrieved 5/10/2011 from,1607,7-123-1645_3501_4621-243369--,00.html.18 Partial year data for 2010 retrieved 5/10/2011 from Retrieved 5/10/2011 from Retrieved 5/10/2011 from Retrieved 5/10/2011 from Data for 2009 retrieved 5/10/2011 from,1607,7-123-1645_3501_4621-243369--,00.html. 719/237-0338
  5. 5. Paul Frankel, Ph.D. 5 Michigan Crime Trendsquarter (-26.6%) 2005-2009, and since 1996, aggravated assault has decreased almost one-thirdsince 1996 (-30.5%).2324252627 Moreover, consistent with the demographic trend for the crime ofmurder in 2009, more than half of the victims of aggravated assault were male (56%) anddisproportionally African American (54%). Lastly, consistent with the demographic trend forthe crime of rape in 2009, many victims and offenders were acquainted or were family members,and the stereotype of a random assault or altercation is not supported by the data.Figure 3. Trends for the Crime of Aggravated Assault in Michigan, 1996-2010.Robbery, Burglary, Larceny, and Motor Vehicle TheftCrime touches the lives of many people in American. In Michigan, with an approximatepopulation of 10 million,28 there are more than 1 million incidents of reported crime annuallyand, by definition, many incidents, injuries, and victims go unreported or underreported eachyear.29 The large number of property crimes of robbery, burglary, larceny, and motor vehicletheft have been grouped together to depict the Michigan trends regarding crimes against propertythat affect the citizens of Michigan on a daily basis.As can be seen in Figure 4, without exception, all categories of crimes against property havebeen decreasing steadily in the last five years. For example, the crimes of larceny that affectmany people in the form of theft from motor vehicles, buildings, purses, and pockets, havedecreased as an aggregate by more than one-quarter (-25.2%) since 2005, and by almost half (-48.8%) since 1996. Although burglary and robbery have remained relatively stable, there hasbeen a substantial decrease in the number of people affected by property crimes in the last five23 Data for 1996, 2001, and 2005 retrieved 5/10/2011 from Data for 2006 retrieved 5/10/2011 from Data for 2007 retrieved 5/10/2011 from,1607,7-123-1645_3501_4621-204981--,00.html.26 Data for 2008 retrieved 5/10/2011 from,1607,7-123-1645_3501_4621-228589--,00.html.27 Partial year data for 2010 retrieved 5/10/2011 from Retrieved on 5/10/11 from Retrieved on 5/10/11 from 719/237-0338
  6. 6. Paul Frankel, Ph.D. 6 Michigan Crime Trendsyears.303132333435 Lastly, with respect to property crimes, data is not readily available from lawenforcement reporting agencies regarding the demographic characteristics of these perpetratorssuch as gender and race, and this is one large category of crimes where perpetrators areinfrequently arrested and documented.Figure 4. Trends for Crimes against Property in Michigan, 1996-2010.National Crime Trends and the State of Michigan Homicide. According to the U.S. Office of Justice Programs, the U.S. incidence ofhomicide and non-negligent manslaughter has remained relatively stable since 2005, with aslight increase (1%) from 2005-2007.36 At the same time, the overall incidence of homicide andnon-negligent manslaughter has decreased slightly (-3%) in the Midwestern States of Illinois,Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin. By comparing year-to-year and from State-to-State, itcan be seen that Michigan experienced a one year upswing in homicides (2006), but all theMidwestern States appear to be on an improving tract in comparison to the Entire U.S. (SeeTable 1).3730 Data for 1996, 2001, and 2005 retrieved 5/10/2011 from Data for 2006 retrieved 5/10/2011 from Data for 2007 retrieved 5/10/2011 from,1607,7-123-1645_3501_4621-204981--,00.html.33 Data for 2008 retrieved 5/10/2011 from,1607,7-123-1645_3501_4621-228589--,00.html.34 Data for 2009 retrieved 5/10/2011 from,1607,7-123-1645_3501_4621-243369--,00.html.35 Partial year data for 2010 retrieved 5/10/2011 from Retrieved 5/10/2011 from It is important to note that across the U.S., the definition of homicide may vary to a degree depending on Statestatute and definition. 719/237-0338
  7. 7. Paul Frankel, Ph.D. 7 Michigan Crime TrendsTable 1. Trends in the Midwestern U.S. for the Crime of Homicide, 2005-2007. Midwestern States 2005 2006 2007 Change 05-07 Illinois 770 780 752 -2.3% Indiana 356 369 356 0.0% Michigan 629 713 676 7.5% Ohio 590 539 516 -12.5% Wisconsin 206 164 183 -11.2% Sum Midwest 2,551 2,565 2,483 -2.7% United States- Total 16,740 17,030 16,929 1.1% Forcible Rape. According to the U.S. Office of Justice Programs, the U.S. incidence offorcible rape has been decreasing at a modest pace, with san overall improvement in theincidence of rape approaching 5%.38 In particular, Michigan has seen the largest decrease from2005-2007 of more than 10%, and only Wisconsin has experienced a moderate increase amongthe Midwestern States (see Table 2).39Table 2. Trends in the Midwestern U.S. for the Crime of Forcible Rape, 2005-2007. Midwestern States 2005 2006 2007 Change 05-07 Illinois 4313 4078 4103 -4.9% Indiana 1856 1835 1742 -6.1% Michigan 5199 5269 4579 -11.9% Ohio 4671 4548 4452 -4.7% Wisconsin 1,135 1,131 1,223 7.8% Sum Midwest 17,174 16,861 16,099 -6.3% United States- Total 94,347 92,757 90,427 -4.2% Property Crimes. According to the U.S. Office of Justice Programs, the U.S. incidence ofproperty crimes has decreased slightly since 2005 (-3.3%).40 In fact, all Midwestern Statesexcept Wisconsin have seen small decreases in property climes since 2005. In particular,Michigan has seen a very small decrease in property crimes since 2005, and according to theBureau of Justice Statistics, upwards of 300,000 Michigan citizens and almost 10 million U.S.citizens in total have been victims of property crimes.4138 Retrieved 5/10/2011 from It is important to note that across the U.S., the definition of rape may vary to a degree depending on State statuteand definition.40 Retrieved 5/10/2011 from It is important to note that across the U.S., the definition of property crimes may vary to a degree depending onState statute and definition. According to BJS, property crimes include burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft,and arson. 719/237-0338
  8. 8. Paul Frankel, Ph.D. 8 Michigan Crime TrendsTable 3. Trends in the Midwestern U.S. for Property Crimes, 2005-2007. Midwestern States 2005 2006 2007 Change 05-07 Illinois 394,670 387,478 377,322 -4.4% Indiana 216,778 221,127 215,526 -0.6% Michigan 312,892 324,351 308,775 -1.3% Ohio 420,705 422,235 396,209 -5.8% Wisconsin 147,556 156,571 158,959 7.7% Sum Midwest 1,492,601 1,511,762 1,456,791 -2.4% United States- Total 10,174,754 9,983,568 9,843,481 -3.3%Public Policy and Crime ManagementIt is evident that crime in the U.S. and, in particular Michigan, has been decreasing at a moderaterate for the last five years. By contrast, the number of people under some form of correctionalsupervision has reached new highs in the U.S.42 More still needs to be done to lower crime rates,as in Michigan where more than 1 million citizens annually are affected by violent and propertycrimes. Further, assuming that reported crimes substantially underestimate the incidence of “truecrime,” it is estimated that many millions of Michigan residents are affected each year bycrime—and the societal, community, familial, and individual [tangible and intangible] costs areextremely high.Long-term national forecasts indicate that the U.S. will need to build more prisons to houseoffenders and re-offending individuals. At the same time, States are under enormous financialpressure to reduce costs and to get the most bang-for-the buck out of existing programs to reducecriminal behavior. In fact, the financial crash of 2006-2007 has left many States, nonprofitfoundations, and agencies functionally bankrupt, and the relative decrease of criminal behavior issomewhat surprising in light of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.43The incidence of criminal behavior in Michigan may be declining gradually because of factorssuch as progressive rape statutes (e.g., Rape shield laws, etc.), multijurisdiction task forces, andstringent enforcement of drug laws, but it is possible that an increase in the incidence of criminalbehavior, child abuse, and domestic violence will lag several years behind the financialchallenges of the late 2000’s. Moreover, other more subtle behavioral markers such as substanceabuse, the number of families falling below the poverty line, or school bullying may prove to bemore sensitive proxies of the financial stress in the U.S. and in the State of Michigan. In fact,children of color are disproportionally vulnerable to financial stressors in Michigan and manychild victims of violent and property crimes may go unreported or underreported during thesetough financial times.4442 Retrieved 5/10/2011 from Retrieved 5/10/2011 from Retrieved 5/10/2011 from 719/237-0338
  9. 9. Paul Frankel, Ph.D. 9 Michigan Crime TrendsSome innovative States such as Washington State have decided to invest in evidenced-basedprograms and services, including primary prevention, rather than invest exclusively in thebuilding of new prisons.45 For instance, investments were made in drug treatment programs,parenting education, multisystemic therapy, interventions for juveniles, and early childhoodeducation. As very few States have a strong primary or secondary prevention repertoire ofservices, the State of Washington can provide a good lesson for the State of Michigan ininvesting in prevention rather than in “rehabilitation.” In fact, Washington State found thatcomprehensive prevention programs such as functional family therapy and Nurse FamilyPartnership reduced recidivism three-times as much as typical responses such as drug-court.Victims of crime, especially victims of violent crimes, have rights and liberties that have beencompromised, injured, and damaged. It is imperative that all States take very seriously theVictims’ Bill of Rights, including the Michigan constitutional amendment to protect rights forvictims.46 Crime victims’ rights ought to be protected as vociferously as the rights of theaccused and, furthermore, the State of Michigan ought to make every effort to integrate theinnovative practice of restorative justice into each case of violent crime or crimes againstproperty.For example, the State of Minnesota has followed the practice of restorative justice as developedin Europe, Asia, Australia, and Africa. Restorative justice is integral to many culturesworldwide, and helps to bolster communities free from fear and xenophobia. In fact, the Officeof Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention has piloted curriculum for use with juveniles,and in both Minnesota and Texas victims and offenders are being provided safe opportunities forface-to-face dialogue.47 This type of intensive one-on-one work with victims and offendersdemands staff time and resources, and Michigan struggles like many States with workforceissues.In 2009, the State of Michigan reported 16,970 police officers across all police and sheriffagencies.48 In a State of 10 million residents and almost 100,000 square miles it isunderstandable from a workload point of view, that providing one-on-one attention to offendersand victims is challenging. In fact, the number of officers in 2009 was reduced 3% from 2008,and it is unlikely that the Governor’s new budget will afford significant additional hires andadvanced training in 2011. With staff limitations in mind, the State of Michigan may be able tohire or entice paraprofessionals and other auxiliary staff or volunteers to help reduce theworkload of existing officers.One challenge with any large State staff in a diverse social and economic milieu (i.e., police andsheriff departments) is that workers wear many “hats” and have diverse roles andresponsibilities, must multi-task, and often spend an inordinate amount of time in meetings,45 Drake, E.K., Aos, S., & Miller, M.G. (2009). Evidenced-based public policy options to reduce crime and criminaljustice costs: Implications in Washington State. Victims and Offenders, 4:170-196.46 Retrieved 5/10/2011 from Retrieved 5/10/2011 from Retrieved 5/10/2011 from 719/237-0338
  10. 10. Paul Frankel, Ph.D. 10 Michigan Crime Trendswaiting in queue, and processing paperwork or other digital documentation. Further, some casesusing innovative practices such as restorative justice or crime prevention techniques require agreater “workload” for success and fidelity. The State of Michigan would benefit by conductinga large-scale workload study on police and sheriffs in order to ascertain what services are beingoffered, the degree of follow-up to offenders and victims, and how much time officers arespending inefficiently or on unnecessary tasks.For example, the State of New York conducted a large-scale workload study of child welfarecaseworker practices, which could be extrapolated to a workload study for police and sheriffs.49In the New York study it was found that caseworkers generally spend less than two-thirds oftheir time actually providing services for clients, and the rest of time was spent waiting, filing,reporting, and generally being unproductive. Analogously, by examining in detail thecharacteristics of officers on-the-job, it is conceivable that inefficiencies in police practice couldbe identified (e.g., voluminous paperwork, waiting for court, etc.) and exchanged for moreeffective and streamlined practices.Final Thoughts: The State of the StateWe are proud to be Michiganders, with a long history of economic, cultural and social successes.Despite some relatively recent sensationalism and negative reporting for Michigan’s real andimagined shortcomings, hardworking and law abiding citizens of Michigan abound. In fact, thecrime rate continues to improve substantially; unemployment may dip below 10% for the firsttime in several years; the Governor has announced new federal grants for the State; and,agriculture, the demand for green jobs, tourism, and the reinvention of the automotive industryare harbingers of future solvency.50As with much of the U.S. and with most States in the Midwestern U.S., the incidence of seriouscrime in Michigan is decreasing at a considerable rate—in some cases as much as 10%.Although somewhat unexpected based on the financial challenges of the late 2000’s, progressiveand innovative law enforcement practices and policies account for a number of the positivechanges. Nonetheless, much work remains to make Michigan more secure for all citizens,especially for the economically disadvantaged and families of color.Several public policy recommendations have been offered for crime management in Michigan,and not every option requires additional funding or zero-sum State budget decisions. Forexample, reorganizing funding priorities from a focus on prisons and incarceration to a focus onprimary prevention and building protective factors requires a paradigmatic shift in long-termstrategic planning. For some policy recommendations, such as a large-scale workload study toidentify efficiencies in policing, additional funding for research will be needed. For each policyrecommendation, evidence has been provided based on the successes of other States, and nooptions seem cost prohibitive as the State of Michigan recovers gradually from economic andpolitical sluggishness. Michigan appears to have “re-discovered” itself!49 Retrieved 5/10/2011 from Retrieved 5/10/2011 from 719/237-0338