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The Morning Heat: Tuesday’s Trending Topics

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FBI says Detroit most violent big city in America, DPD stats tell different story

The FBI once again is calling Detroit the most violent big city in America with new crime statistics but Detroit police say they’re making headway fighting violence, and their new numbers show it.

According to statistics released by the FBI, in 2013 Detroit had the highest homicide rate per capita – reporting 14,504 violent crimes. It surprised and disappointed many Detroiters. FBI statistics reveal Detroit had 316 homicides last year with a population of just under 700,000. It results in 45 homicides per 1,000 residents. It was the most of any city with more than 50,000.

New Orleans, Newark, St. Louis and Baltimore, round out the top five. The largest cities, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago all had lower homicide rates.

There is good news, murders are down 4.4 percent and violent crime is down 4.1 percent. Detroit police report that this year to date there have been 249 murders. At this point last year, there were 290 – a 14 percent decline. Aggravated assaults saw a 3 percent increase, sexual assaults down 5 percent and robbery down 24 percent.

Overall violent crime is down 7 percent.

Residents say they are happy with the work the Detroit Police Chief James Craig is doing. One Detroit police officer said that the FBI statistics are not shocking, but appreciates the work of Craig, adding they are working to bring the numbers down.

Police using ‘bait’ to stop car thieves, break-ins

A partnership in Detroit’s Midtown is helping stop car break-ins and thefts. Wayne State University Police Chief Anthony Holt said in order to fight crime, officers need to be prepared with a variety of different tools. His department often deploys a tool they refer to as a bait car.

The bait cars are provided by DTE Energy, and come fully equipped with cameras that officers can monitor around the clock.

Michael Lynch, chief security officer for DTE, normally works to catch thieves trying to steal electricity from his company, but he also helps police departments by providing bait cars. The cars are also outfitted with something valuable to catch a would-be thief’s eye. That can include a cellphone box or a laptop.

Using data collected on recent crimes, Wayne State University Police gives DTE locations to place the bait cars. Every two weeks Wayne State police hold Compstat meetings, in which officers and other agencies in the Midtown community come together to highlight crime hot spots and develop plans to stop the thefts from occurring.

DTE Energy is putting bait cars out every week in Midtown. The company began offering its service to Wayne State Police Department, but it also does it for Detroit police, Dearborn police and other area agencies. Once the cars are in place, they are monitored 24/7 by police.

The bait cars have been successfully used to arrest and prosecute car thieves. DTE Energy provides the service because the company feels it’s important to give back to the community.

Ebola patient with Detroit ties cleared in New York City

Craig Spencer has become the latest U.S. citizen to overcome Ebola and will be released from a New York City hospital on Tuesday morning, according to the New York Times. Dr. Spencer, 33, who attended medical school at Wayne State University, had just arrived back to New York City after treating Ebola patients in West Africa.

Spencer is also a 1999 graduate of Grosse Pointe North High School. He was an honor student who played hockey and lacrosse. Spencer, a doctor, had been working with Doctors Without Borders in Guinea where he treated Ebola patients. He was taken to Bellevue Hospital Center in New York City on Oct. 23. Spencer had two friends who initially were under quarantine but have been cleared. His fiancee is under quarantine. Spencer is the latest U.S. citizen to be cleared after contracting Ebola.

Dallas nurses Amber Vinson and Nina Pham also have been released from the hospital along with three medical professionals who contracted the disease in Africa. Ashoka Mukpo, a freelance cameraman for NBC, also has been cleared of Ebola. Thomas Eric Duncan died in the United States while being treated for the disease, which he got in Liberia. Of those, four were diagnosed with Ebola in the United States.

Ebola has killed nearly 5,000 people in West Africa, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Written by LBeasley (Lauren Beasley), Digital Producer of The Morning Heat and Sports Editor of Radio One Detroit

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