UPDATE 1/3:  Detroit Records More Than 400 Murders In 2012 Interim Police Chief Chester Logan says America has a problem with guns and Detroit is the epicenter. 

DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – The murder rate in Detroit last year reportedly reached its highest in almost 20 years.  Official 2012 numbers will be released on Thursday by Detroit Mayor Dave Bing and police.

Detroit Police Commission Chair, Rev. Jerome Warfield says he’s frustrated over the higher crime figures. He says most crimes are driven by drugs and gang activity — so the focus should be there.

“I think that we have to have a more concentrated effort of what’s driving it … We have to do better at making sure that we target and source those pockets, those gangs or individuals that are perpetuating these crimes and go from there,” Warfield said.  “Because, when you look at it, most of the folks that are being murdered are being murdered by people  they had some kind of relationship (with).”

“People are leaving the city of Detroit because they feel that it is not safe.  And so it’s costing the city of Detroit a great deal,” he said.

Warfield said job creation is the biggest key to reducing crime.

He also favors a public safety mileage to hire more police officers to patrol the streets.

“I don’t think it’s pie in the sky. I think it’s something that can be done, but I think … someone has to take up the mantle and really run with it to say, look, this is what we need,” Warfield said.

Reportedly Detroit had 379 homicides last year, the most since 1994.

The increases have prompted Gov. Rick Snyder to launch a new program aimed at sending state troopers into high-crime centers. With financially struggling cities cutting back on the number of officers on the street, Snyder has said he is concerned about their ability to adequately protect public safety.

With Snyder’s initiative, many troopers who graduated from training in October were sent to or near Detroit, Flint, Saginaw and Pontiac. They are among the top 10 U.S. cities of more than 50,000 residents with the worst violent crime rates. (More on this here).

Stay with WWJ Newsradio 950 and CBSDetroit.com for the latest on this story.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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