40% of Detroit Residents Want to Leave
Just a day after Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee resigned amid a sex and abuse of power scandal, a poll of Motor City residents was released showing that 50% of them would live elsewhere if they could and 40% want to leave within 5 years. If all of them actually exit, Detroit, whose 2010 population of 713,000 is less than 40% of its 1950 high of 1.8 million, would be left with only 428,000 residents. Between 2000 and 2010, the city lost 238,000 inhabitants (25% of its population), a rate of one every 22 minutes.
About two-thirds of the 800 Detroiters polled said the city is “on the wrong track,” and almost 58% said crime is their “biggest daily challenge,” far ahead of unemployment and the economy at 12.8%. Many analysts believe the true unemployment rate for Detroit may be as high as 50%.
Detroiters expressed little support for the city’s leaders…with the exception of Godbee, whose scandal surfaced after the poll was conducted by Chicago-based Glengariff Group Inc.
Richard Czuba, the pollster who supervised the survey, told the Detroit News that “Crime is the pre-eminent challenge facing the residents of Detroit…That was a defining element of the survey. It’s absolutely the driving factor.”
City officials insist that public perception of crime, fueled by media reports of recent high-profile crimes, is worse than the reality. They point out that violent crime decreased 12% between 2010 and 2012, and that a four-year-old crime fighting effort in the Midtown neighborhood where Wayne State University is located has cut crime there by 38%.
Nevertheless, homicides are up 10% so far in 2012 to 298, and at least 50% of residents in lower income households (under $50,000 per year) feel unsafe in a city that FBI statistics show is the second-most violent in America (behind nearby Flint, Michigan).
To Learn More:
Poll: Crime Drives Detroiters Out; 40% Expect to Leave within 5 Years (by Christine MacDonald, Detroit News)
Godbee Retires amid Detroit Police Sex Scandal but will be Investigated (by George Hunter and Christine Ferretti, Detroit News)
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