DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – Homicides in Detroit rose 12 percent last year compared to 2010 but serious crimes were down overall.

Police Chief Ralph Godbee Jr. released statistics Friday for 2011. He says there were 344 homicides, compared to 308 a year earlier.

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“Criminal homicides are what we’re referring to,” explained Godbee. “That means a crime was committed, someone lost their life at the hands of another, and this is the definition that is given under the uniform crime reporting format.”

“It’s an 11.7 percent increase over 2010,” he said.

Meantime, Goddee said preliminary numbers show that serious or violent crimes in general were down by 7,300 or 8 percent. Those include murder, rape, assault, robbery and auto theft.

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Godbee gave credit to Detroit officers and volunteers, praised a number of community groups, including Detroit 300, Made Men and Brothers on Patrol, for their help in crime prevention and crime-solving efforts.

“It’s important to note that the community has been the force multiplier for us,” said Godbee, adding that while Detroit police have fewer resources, it’s not an excuse to not do a good job.

The chief said half of the homicides last year were solved by police, the same rate as 2010. Godbee said any loss of life deserves a thorough investigation.

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