Empty jail cells are normally something to celebrate, but Wayne County's top law enforcement officials say the hundreds of vacant jail beds are not because of a drop in crime or more reasonable sentencing. Floors of the downtown Detroit jail are empty because police are arresting fewer people accused of those crimes.
Altogether, three county jails that held about 2,500 prisoners a year ago now house 400 fewer inmates.
Sheriff Warren Evans said police are so slow to respond to some calls that the crimes never get reported. Prosecutor Kym Worthy was more blunt:
"We don't tell the truth about crime," she said.
Detroit has lost hundreds of sworn officers in recent years. The Police Department didn't respond to repeated requests for interviews with its top leaders, but it released preliminary statistics showing an overall decline in criminal activity this year, despite a 24% increase in homicides.
East-sider Joyce Betty, 56, isn't buying it.Last February, a young assailant snatched Betty's purse, which contained $300 in cash, while she pumped gas at a Mack Avenue filling station. Surveillance cameras captured the crime on videotape, but police never responded.
What's so "progressive" about rampant crime?