Homicides in Michigan increased in 2020, per FBI data

Photo of Angela Mulka
Pictured is a chart produced by the FBI.

Pictured is a chart produced by the FBI.

Photo provided/FBI

On Monday, Sept. 27, the FBI released its crime statistics for the year 2020 and some results are disheartening.

For the first time in four years, the estimated number of violent crimes in the nation increased when compared with the previous year’s statistics, according to FBI figures. The statistics also show that property crime across the country fell 7.8% in 2020. Burglaries dropped 7.4%, larceny-thefts decreased 10.6%, while motor vehicle thefts rose 11.8%.

Nationally, in 2020, violent crime was up 5.6% from the 2019 number. And homicides specifically were up nearly 30% compared to 2019.

Michigan's situation is similar to the nation's. Homicides in the state were up 31%, marking the largest annual increase in more than three decades.

Additionally, 43.1% of the state's homicides occurred in the City of Detroit.

For the first time since 2016, Detroit's police department reported more than 300 homicides in the FBI's annual crime report, with 328 in 2020. In 2019, Detroit reported 280 homicides. 

In the state there were 40,041 violent-crime incidents and 47,327 offenses reported by 630 law enforcement agencies that submitted National Incident-Based Reporting System data, and covers 94% of the total population, according to the FBI's statistics.

The FBI shows that out of all communities in the state with a population of more than 100,000, Sterling Heights recorded the lowest violent crime and property crime rates, making it the safest big city. It had a total of 237 violent crimes in 2020, which is 25% lower than Ann Arbor, 66% lower than Clinton Township and 191% lower than Warren.

How violent crimes are counted?

The data reflects the hierarchy rule, which requires that only the most serious offense in a case be counted. The descending order of violent crimes are homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault, followed by the property crimes of burglary, larceny-theft and motor vehicle theft. Although arson is also a property crime, the hierarchy rule does not apply to it. In cases in which an arson occurs in conjunction with another violent or property crime, both crimes are reported.

Read the FBI's full report here.