City reflects on FBI crime statistics

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published October 7, 2015

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A top national law enforcement agency recently released data that city officials say back up previous announcements that Sterling Heights is among the safest large communities in Michigan.

On Sept. 28, the FBI released its Crime in the United States report for 2014.

According to the data, Sterling Heights had 222 violent crime incidents reported last year, a decrease of 22 incidents compared to 2013. Among the state’s six-figure population cities, this put Sterling Heights in second place behind Ann Arbor, which had 194 violent crimes reported in 2014.

In property crimes, the FBI statistics listed Sterling Heights as the lowest out of the communities of 100,000-plus populations with complete data, though Grand Rapids did not have complete listings — the FBI cited underreporting in that city. Sterling Heights had 2,026 reported property crimes in 2014, decreasing its total from 2,486 in 2013 — a reduction of 460 incidents.

Within the specific listings by crime, Sterling Heights had zero murders and a decrease in aggravated assaults from 189 to 162. It had slight increases in forcible rapes, from 30 to 33, and robberies, from 25 to 27.

Sterling Heights had a significant decline in burglaries, from 330 to 221; a drop in larcenies from 1,957 to 1,650; and a drop in motor vehicle thefts from 199 to 155. Arson increased from 10 reported incidents to 12.

In all of these subcategories, Sterling Heights either ranked as the safest community with a population higher than 100,000, or it ranked just behind Ann Arbor, city officials said.

Sterling Heights Police Lt. Dave Smith said he was pleased with the data.

“This is the second year in a row where the statistics are showing a reduction,” he said. “That has to do with our citizens and our officers working together and doing what needs to be done to keep the city safe.”

While Smith said that the statistics might not necessarily change policy, he said police “are always trying to do better” in updating or improving service in any way they can.

Sterling Heights Mayor Pro Tem Doug Skrzyniarz also commented on the figures and how they reflect on the police and the community.

“It’s just a real testament to the high level of professionalism and commitment that our men and women in the police force have to the community — and also a testament to the families and the residents that we have in the city, that they respect the rule of law,” he said. “And in partnership with public safety, we have a great community.”

The government data firm Munetrix recently scored Sterling Heights as the safest community in Michigan with a population greater than 100,000, and the sixth-safest one out of a top 15 with a population greater than 50,000.

Find out more about the FBI crime statistics by visiting www.fbi.gov. Contact Sterling Heights by visiting www.sterling-heights.net or by calling (586) 446-2489.

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