(The Center Square) – Following trends in cities around the United States, one police department in Michigan saw a reported 97% decrease in physical arrests from its peak in 2008.
Flint has consistently ranked among one of the most dangerous cities in the United States. In July 2021, Mayor Sheldon Neeley declared a state of emergency in response to rising gun violence in the city with a population of 81,252.
The City of Flint Police Department made 325 physical arrests in 2021, the fewest since 2008. From 1999 to 2008, there were an average of 7,413 arrests a year. In 2008, there were 10,711 arrests by the department, with arrests fluctuating year-to-year after that, but averaging between 4,000 and 1,000.
There has been a significant and consistent decline in arrests since 2017, when there were 1,664 arrests.
Traffic violations, misdemeanors and civil infractions are also down significantly from their high mark in 2008, according to Flint’s 2021 annual financial report.
In 2008, there were 20,995 of those types of violations. In 2021, this had dropped to 5,168. This is a 75% decrease.
Arrests are not the only thing down in Flint. Investigations within the police department and sworn police officers are also down.
Investigations by the police department have decreased from 25,130 in 2008 to 8,300 in 2021. This is a 67% decrease.
Sworn police officers and civilians have both trended down within the department since 2008.
In 2008, there were 265 sworn police officers in the city, while by 2021 that number had been cut by over half to 118. This is a 55% decrease.
Civilians within the police department have also dropped from 35 in 2008 to 24 in 2021, which is a 31% decrease.
The police department spent $21 million in 2021, which made up 38% of the city's general fund expenditures.
The City of Flint’s mayor’s office and two city council members, Tonya Burns and Ladel Lewis, did not respond to an email from The Center Square requesting a comment on these trends. The Flint Police Foundation, a non-profit that works to improve safety in Flint and helps fund the Police Department beyond the city's budget, also did not respond.