Paper: Detroit Police Underreport Homicides

ABC’s Tahman Bradley reports from Chicago:

A Detroit News review of police and medical examiner records found that the Detroit police department is “ systematically undercounting homicides.” Detroit police routinely reclassify homicides as justifiable, or deaths by suicide, or accident in annual reports to the FBI, and by doing so, the department has falsely lowered the city’s homicide rate, the paper found.

If Detroit police had not incorrectly reclassified 22 slayings last year, the city would have had the worst homicide rate of U.S. cities with more than 500,000 residents, according to the Detroit News.

In combing through police records, the paper found that one man who died of multiple stab wounds was not listed in the city’s homicide count. Another man -- determined by the medical examiner to have been beaten to death -- was classified by police as having died by accident. Even a man who was shot in the head was excluded from the tally.

According to the Detroit News, detectives responded to 423 cases of suspicious death in 2008 but the police only reported 306 homicides. The paper believes Detroit’s actual number of homicides in 2008 was 368.

Read the full report by the Detroit News * HERE *

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