Tracking progress in Detroit police response times a fool’s errand

Nov 10, 2015

By Mike Wilkinson
Bridge Magazine

When state-appointed emergency financial manager Kevyn Orr first pleaded with a federal bankruptcy court to help Detroit in July 2013, he made his case with sobering statistics: the city’s high levels of poverty, blight, and abandonment, its declining population and tax revenues, and its insane crime rate.

Orr pointed out how long it took police, on average, to get to the highest-priority crimes: 58 minutes, or nearly an hour. It was partial proof the city couldn’t “meet obligations to its citizens,” Orr told the court.

It was a shocking number – and one repeated by Gov. Rick Snyder, the man who appointed Orr. And in December 2013 U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes used that revelation as one of many reasons he would allow the city to seek bankruptcy’s cost-cutting protection.  

Now, nearly a year after Detroit’s emergence from bankruptcy, Detroit Police Chief James Craig says response times have fallen below 15 minutes; and Mayor Mike Duggan, who loves data and scorecards, regularly touts the precipitous reduction with similar numbers.

Read the entire Bridge Magazine article here.