DETROIT (Reuters) - Detroit logged an unofficial 308 murders last year, a 15.4 percent drop from 2009 for a city whose residents face chronic high unemployment and thousands of vacant homes and businesses.
Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee said a focus on deploying officers to higher crime areas based on daily trends contributed to the murder decline.
To build on those gains, Detroit must "continue to address systemic issues that contribute to violent criminal acts," Godbee said in a statement.
Violent crime overall has been declining in Detroit and other major U.S. cities for several years, but the murder rate in the upper Midwest city hit hard by the decline in the U.S. manufacturing base remains far above some other large cities.
Detroit's total murders compare to New York's reported 525 murders in 2010 through December 26 and Chicago's 412 through November. Both of those cities have far more residents than Detroit.
The U.S. Census Bureau estimated Detroit's population at about 911,000 as of July 2009, though the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments had estimated the population as low as 772,000 as of July 2010.
By contrast, New York's population stood at an estimated 8.4 million in mid 2009 and Chicago's at more than 2.8 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Reporting by David Bailey; Editing by Jerry Norton