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Posted on Thu, Apr 21, 2011 : 12:50 p.m.

Ann Arbor saw slight increase in crime last year, but overall trend is down over last decade

By Ryan J. Stanton

Total crimes reported in Ann Arbor increased by about 2.6 percent last year, according to newly released figures from the Ann Arbor Police Department.

However, major crimes — known as Part 1 crimes — were down slightly, and the overall trend for the past decade shows illegal activity inside the city limits has dropped off.

As the city ponders cutting 25 positions from the police department to close gaps in its budget over the next two years, Mayor John Hieftje has pointed to crime being on a downward trend.


A row of police motorcycles stands near a parked patrol car outside the Ann Arbor Police Department. The department reported a 2.6 percent increase in crime last year.

Ryan J. Stanton |

But the police department saw an uptick last year.

The department logged a total of 7,911 incidents, up from 7,714 in 2009. That's still down nearly 19 percent from 2002 levels.

Of the total incidents reported in 2010, 3,223 were Part 1 crimes. That's down slightly from the 3,255 reported in 2009, and it's a nearly 15 percent drop from 2002 levels.

Part 1 crimes include aggravated assault, arson, breaking and entering, larceny, auto theft, robbery, criminal sexual conduct and murder.

Ann Arbor saw Part 2 crimes go up from 4,459 to 4,688 from 2009 to 2010, but that's still down nearly 22 percent from 2002 levels.

Part 2 crimes include incidents like fraud, stolen property, vandalism, sex offenses, drugs, disorderly conduct, simple assaults, weapons and drunken driving.

  • Click here to download a more complete breakdown.

The most recent FBI Uniform Crime Reports show Ann Arbor remains the second safest of Michigan's six largest cities, trailing only Sterling Heights.

Lansing has 4.4 times the amount of violent crime per capita compared to Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids has 3.5 times, Detroit has 7.7 times and Warren has 2.5 times.

Ann Arbor has 124 sworn officers, a little more than half the numbers it had a decade ago. Hieftje said it's possible there could be smaller numbers of less serious crimes reported due to fewer officers on the job, but it's unlikely that's the case for major crimes.

The Ann Arbor City Council will meet May 16 to vote on the city budget for the next two fiscal years and to decide what level of police services to keep. In addition to cuts in the police department, the fire department faces losing 12 firefighter positions.

Safety Services Administrator Barnett Jones, who is now both the police chief and fire chief, expressed hope earlier this month that cuts can be minimized.

"We're in the hands of the politicos and it's a process, and I'm hoping at the end of this process we can resolve it without laying off firefighters and police," he said. "If confronting this is a reality, we will come up with a plan to make sure that response time is not affected and also that the number of officers on the street is not decreased."

City Administrator Roger Fraser's budget proposal for the fiscal year starting July 1 includes $78.9 million in general fund expenditures, down $2.5 million from this year. He proposes drawing $1.7 million from cash reserves over the next two years to help close the gap.


A look at crimes reported in Ann Arbor from 2002 to 2010. The bar graph looks at just Part 1 crimes, which include the more serious incidents like aggravated assault, arson, breaking and entering, larceny, auto theft, robbery, criminal sexual conduct and murder.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's e-mail newsletters.



Sat, Apr 23, 2011 : 12:10 p.m.

It's raining today. Must be the ^%#$@ Republicans' fault.


Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 8 a.m.

The primary reason that crimes are down is that we elected many of these crooks to good-paying jobs which keep them free of arrest and prosecution. (Most of the crooks chose the Republican Party as their patron.) Also: C.S. Gass is right: the vastly increased number of people vetted and licensed to carry handguns for self defense has put a damper on the enthusiasm of the predatory type of criminal. But no police agency keeps records of white collar crimes - which have ballooned to trillion dollar per year status since 2000.


Sat, Apr 23, 2011 : 1:33 a.m.

I don't think political party has a thing to do with the crime rate unless maybe you mean all the politicians are crooks!


Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 2:49 a.m.

Hey! Looks like the crime rate is completely independent of police staffing. Who'd of thunk that decreased numbers of police performing traffic stops would have no impact on violent crimes? Can we get rid of the moron chief of police yet?


Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 7:56 a.m.

Just a reminder: those police traffic stops are for a reason: some drivers drive dangerously and should be stopped. Lets not forget: some of those traffic stops uncover other crimes (like illegally transported arms and illegally transported drugs). Traffic stops are: an added benefit and service we need and should appreciate. That's unless we're one of those who think that the laws don't apply to them.


Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 2:19 a.m.

I thimk the more law enforcement on the job, the lighter the crime will be in all of Washtenaw County. Why take the chance of the criminals having the knowledge (I won't get caught) less officers on the job. Leave them on, pay them and let them do their job. I believe in armed citizens! I am one of them.


Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 1:29 a.m.

One other thought...Is it possible that the continued decrease of police officers across the state has something to do with the increased number of police officers killed in the line of duty over the last few years?


Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 7:49 a.m.

You're kidding, of course? No, the decreasing number of law enforcement personnel is a direct result of Republicans systematically gutting the tax revenue sources for public services. On top of that, you must know the current Republican effort directed against public service labor unions is the other point of their spear. The object is to "reduce government impact" on individuals, but the result is the negative impact on the vast majority of citizens -who can't get their kids educated, can't depend on police protection, can't even look forward to decent retirement or affordable health care - or look forward to a decent job in the public service sector.


Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 1:25 a.m.

Concealed weapons legislation has little to do with a decrease in crime. It is more likely that the crack epidemic of the 90's is not at the same levels therefore the violent crimes associated with it has continued to decrease over time. Fear measures such as CCW laws scaring criminals or severe penalties are not effective for deterrents of crime. Just look at those states with the death penalty. There is no correlation showing a decrease in severe crimes simply because you have severe penalties. I'd argue that most criminals are not thinking logically when committing a crime. Mostly, these measures make us feel a little safer or offer us perceived control over those circumstances that are uncontrollable.


Sat, Apr 23, 2011 : 1:30 a.m.

I am sure that CC law deters a lot of crimes . I know for a fact that a guy trying to break into my house seen I was armed and ran . It was never reported because I would have been told no crime was commited so there would be no reason to come out.


Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 7:42 a.m.

I think you make a false parallel between the effectiveness of stiffer penalties versus the greatly increased number of people carrying self defense handguns. (In Michigan, that number is up by over 500%.) The mental process of criminals when confronted with the possibility of getting caught and then getting a longer sentence is nothing like the mental process of a criminal thinking about the downside of trying to rob or attack someone when they have a 5 times more likely chance of getting shot on the spot. "perceived control"??! --- In the case of the armed citizen, it's a correct perception. Just FYI: being trained and armed isn't just an imaginative comforting thought - it's a fact. That is, compared to being unarmed and of the opinion that becoming a victim is "impossible." Also, documented is the fact that thousands of armed citizens every year PREVENT crimes being committed against themselves and others. The flip side of your statements is that a defenseless person is the ideal target for violent criminals. Or is that just a matter of "perception" too? The old saying: Don't knock it until you've tried it, applies here.

Kai Petainen

Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 1:19 a.m.

Question. Do the Ann Arbor Police numbers include numbers from the University of Michigan DPS?


Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 3:52 p.m.

Very good point Kai.

Kai Petainen

Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 10:48 a.m.

Well, since the university of michigan property has expanded in 10 years, I would presume that the DPS handles more calls. As such, the numbers could be skewed / misleading as another agency handles the calls?


Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 2:08 a.m.

No they are completely separate.


Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 12:58 a.m.

Concealed right to carry law possible cause of slightly lower crimes than 2002?


Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 8:14 a.m.

The proper answer is: Possibly. What's not in question is the fact that armed citizens prevent many crimes from happening at all. Those crimes are not reported in the "crimes committed" reports. Needless to say: citizens who are trained and licensed to carry a concealed handgun are far less likely to be criminals themselves. The statistics for that are provided on the Michigan State Police website. This is due to the thoroughness of the concealed carry law passed in Michigan in 2002. Not only are backgrounds checked and mandatory training given, these citizens are better informed about the law and the importance of being law abiding. Penalties are stiffer, standards are more stringent for the armed citizen. So there you have two decisive factors which bring lower crime rates that aren't even considered in such reports as this.


Thu, Apr 21, 2011 : 11:35 p.m.

Regardless of what the crime data suggest, A2 is getting seedier and less safe. More graffiti is left on buildings and in parks, assault crimes are more violent and are happening with more frequency. I've lived in A2 almost 30 years, and I can never remember reading about such vicious crimes against pedestrians and residents in good areas; some crimes are perpetrated against students walking home late at night, but nevertheless the thugs are out in full force. Walk through Gallup Park one of these Sunday afternoon and look at all the new graffiti under the highway overpasses, under bridges, and on the wood benches, not to mention the increasing litter and dog poop. Or the graffiti on downtown and campus area buildings. All of this has increased in the last few years.

Marshall Applewhite

Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 1:24 a.m.

I absolutely disagree with this statement. I've been living in the city since about 2004. The first three years, I frequently had homeless people sleeping on my porch, and would often pound on my door and ask for drugs and such. A few times I caught them trying to break into my house. Since about 2008, property crimes in my area have gone waaaaaay down. Not a single incident since then.

steve h

Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 12:11 a.m.

egad! the graffiti!

C. S. Gass

Thu, Apr 21, 2011 : 9:26 p.m.

One of the reasons violent crime has been going down nationwide has nothing to do with police, but rather with the proliferation of right to carry laws regarding firearms in this state and 82% of others. Criminals, ever so slightly, are starting to think twice before committing a violent crime on a (possibly) armed citizen. That is a good thing.


Thu, Apr 21, 2011 : 11:36 p.m.

Yeah, sure. Where's your peer reviewed study? Didn't think so... Hey, I know, let's make it easier to carry firearms. It's not like an elementary school kid would ever get his hands on a gun and bring it to school. Oh wait, nevermind.


Thu, Apr 21, 2011 : 7:16 p.m.

Good to see a report on the trend over the past decade instead of someone cherrypicking out two data points to spin to make a point on whether crime is higher or lower. Clearly crime has been going down in most categories or has remained about the same. The downloadable excel spreadsheet is very informative.

Craig Lounsbury

Thu, Apr 21, 2011 : 5:27 p.m.

"Hieftje said it's possible there could be smaller numbers of less serious crimes reported due to fewer officers on the job..." I'm not sure I grasp the rational. Is the suggestion that the cops are less likely to answer a call for a less serious crime? They just ignore it? Or folks get tired of waiting?

Craig Lounsbury

Thu, Apr 21, 2011 : 10:55 p.m.

now I get it, the "Officer generated incidents" wasn't on my radar screen. I was more thinking of people calling the police for help. Guess I should have figured that one out myself. Thanks for waking me up.

C. S. Gass

Thu, Apr 21, 2011 : 9:19 p.m.

True Craig, Officer generated incidents, such as drug interdictions and Traffic misdemeanors such as Driving While License Suspended would go down. Not Part 1 crimes.