The FBI’s 2020 annual report Crime in the United States has been released, and FBI data reveals the city of Sterling Heights is once again the safest big city (over 100,000 population) in Michigan.
Sterling Heights was ranked safest among these communities in both total property crimes and violent crimes, as well as safest overall.
Sterling Heights recorded the lowest violent crime rate among all Michigan communities over 100,000 population at 237 total violent crimes for the year, which is 25% lower than Ann Arbor, 66% lower than Clinton Township and 191% lower than Warren. Sterling Heights also recorded the lowest property crime rate among all Michigan communities over 100,000 population at 1,205 for the year, which is 4% lower than Clinton Township, 36% lower than Ann Arbor and 69% lower than Warren.
Sterling Heights is already one of the safest cities in the nation among cities with populations over 100,000. These most recent FBI crime statistics show a continued trend of safety in Sterling Heights.
“The Sterling Heights Police Department has always had a first-class reputation for hard work and public service, and it’s amazing that we can see that reinforced by actual statistics, but it’s not just coming from the FBI Crime Stats,” said Sterling Heights Mayor Michael C. Taylor. “Our recent resident survey also supports the excellence we see every day in our police department, and it’s one of the main reasons families choose to move to Sterling Heights.”
The recent resident survey revealed 97% of respondents said they feel safe in their neighborhood during the day and 86% are satisfied with the overall quality of police protection in Sterling Heights, which is 16% above the regional average and 23% higher than the national average. In addition, 75% are satisfied with the City’s efforts to prevent crime, and 74% are satisfied with the quality of their interaction with the Sterling Heights Police Department.
“Preventing crime is all about team work,” said Police Chief Dale Dwojakowksi. “We wouldn’t have the low crime rates we do without a great collaborative effort between our officers and our residents and businesses. Working together, we’re able to keep our community among the safest in the nation.”
Over the past few years, several factors have helped decrease crime in Sterling Heights:
- Passage of the Safe Streets millage renewal in 2019 allowed the City to maintain full staffing of our police department. In addition, the department applied for and received grant funds allowing for the purchase of additional law enforcement equipment such as two Segway police vehicles for park patrol, including a trailer hitch used to transport the segways to various special event locations throughout the City.
- In 2019, Sterling Heights added another K-9 to our police department, bringing our K-9 unit back to a total of four officers for the first time since the 1970s. This has resulted in an increase in drug forfeiture funds and greater deployments in tracking suspects, finding lost children and elderly residents with memory issues, locating illegal drugs and performing drug sweeps at local schools.
- The City’s Community Outreach and Engagement (CORE) program has also helped reduce crime. CORE officers are assigned an area of the city to serve as that area’s advocate and neighborhood expert, making meaningful relationships within their designated area. They handle complex, non-emergency issues between residents, assist businesses with safety concerns and conduct public programs like walk with a cop, touch-a-truck, National Night Out and security and safety presentations.
- The City’s investment in parks and recreation has also played a role in reducing crime. According to a team of researchers at Clemson and North Carolina State universities, well-kept community green spaces encourage more people to spend time outside in those spaces, leading to a greater degree of informal surveillance of the area and deterring crime.
- In addition, the department is adding seven new sworn officers over the next few months dedicated in large part to neighborhood patrols.
According to the FBI, their 2020 Crime in the United States annual report is a statistical compilation of offense, arrest, and police employee data reported by law enforcement agencies voluntarily participating in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program. The UCR Program collects information on crimes reported by law enforcement agencies regarding violent crimes and property crimes. Data and Sterling Heights’ ranking compared to similar sized cities in Michigan appear below.