Detroit, Michigan

Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation

Detroit, Michigan

BCJI Funding Year: FY2019

BCJI Awardee: City of Detroit

Research Partner: Michigan State University

Focus Area: Eastside - Population 5,420

Challenges: Drug Crimes, Property Crimes

Neighborhood Characteristics

The target area for the City of Detroit's Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation (BCJI) project is a four-square-mile section of Detroit's Eastside that thrived in the early 20th century as the automotive industry emerged. At its economic height, the Eastside was home to Packard, the Cadillac Stamping Plant, Continental Motors, the Budd Company, and numerous small automotive parts supply businesses. Between 1948 and 1967, Detroit lost more than 130,000 manufacturing jobs as the automotive industry began to decentralize. Detroit residents also moved to the suburbs, leaving a large number of homes unoccupied in addition to a significantly weakened tax base for the city, a challenge that continues to this day.

Despite revitalization efforts, resources are strained. The target area chosen for Detroit's BCJI project is one of persistent, violent crime. Violent crime in this area is nearly double the city's total violent crime rate, and the property crime rate has surpassed the citywide rate for the past three years. In 2019, the homicide victim rate in the target area was more than three times the city's, which is already 7.5 times the national average.

The abundance of vacant properties exacerbates the prevalence of violent crime in the BCJI target community. Approximately 35 percent of the properties in the target area are vacant and owned by the Detroit Land Bank Authority (DLBA). Of these properties, 39 percent are structures and the rest are vacant lots. The DLBA and City of Detroit have prioritized the demolition of vacant structures in this area as a strategy to both decrease violent crime and create development opportunities.

Within the target area, four micro-hot spots were identified based on a combination of Uniform Crime Report Part 1 data, drug crime, executed search warrants, and 224 calls to the city's drug hotline. The BCJI project will focus on these critical micro-hot spots within the target area to build on prior investment and strengthen the area's physical and social infrastructure.

Planning Phase

The Planning Phase will begin with an in-depth analysis of crime data, social issues, and economic development opportunities in the BCJI target area led by the Michigan State University research team. Community members will be invited to participate in focus groups to identify the community's vision and their perceptions of crime and safety. Additional community stakeholders will be identified throughout the process and brought into the conversation. Community assets, such as schools, recreation centers, churches, and service agencies, will be inventoried. The Detroit BCJI team will also identify financial resources to leverage during the project implementation in addition to the $2.5 billion the Fiat Chrysler Corporation has committed to invest. 

Four goals will inform the strategy selection and formation of the site's Action Plan for the Implementation Phase:

  1. BCJI Action Plan development
  2. Place-based physical and economic revitalization
  3. Community capacity, connectivity, and support
  4. Resident connections to workforce development opportunities 

Other Key Partners

Wayne County Prosecutor's Office; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; U.S. Attorney's Office-Eastern District of Michigan; Michigan Department of Corrections; Impact Church; Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation

This project is supported by Cooperative Agreement No. 2018-BJ-BX-K035 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions contained herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice. References to specific agencies, companies, products, or services should not be considered an endorsement by the author(s) or the U.S. Department of Justice. Rather, the references are illustrations to supplement discussion of the issues.

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