By Christy Strawser
DETROIT (CBS Detroit) Two people were killed and 47 wounded in shootings in the Windy City — just this weekend, CBS Chicago reported.READ MORE: Local Leaders React To Chauvin’s Guilty Verdict
Meanwhile, Detroit had 16 shootings, including two fatals, between Friday and Sunday, according to Detroit police.
“Wow, we’re better than Chicago!” a Detroit police spokeswoman said, marveling.
The Chicago shooting stories are rife with drama, but here’s a memorable nugget: One of the victims was an 81-year-old woman, who was hit four times in a drive-by shooting apparently aimed at her grandson, who was also hit.
She survived, but the incident reportedly caused her to miss her 60-year-old daughter’s funeral.
And while Chicago is a top tourist destination that attracted 50 million visitors in 2014, Detroit is, for the national media, a name that conjures fear, an image that depicts desperation.
“We get a lot of hate, too, but we get slightly less hate than Detroit,” said Mason Johnson, a Web content producer for CBS Chicago, who regularly delves into crime statistics.
On why Detroit suffers in the public perception so much compared to Chicago, Johnson said: “Obviously, (people) make a hubbub about it in the summer when we have a big weekend like this one, but Chicago is just such a segregated city, for a lot of people it doesn’t touch or affect them except for a news story. The violence is predominantly in five or six neighborhoods.”
In January, CBS Chicago posted a graph with FBI crime statistics that showed New York as the leader in total violent crimes in the United States, followed by Chicago. Detroit came in sixth.
But studies by population show that Detroit is still a less safe place than Chicago.
Detroit, with 699,899 residents, had 316 murders in 2013, per a 2014 FBI report. Chicago, with a population of 2.7 million, had 414 murders in 2013
In 2012, Detroit had 386 murders to Chicago’s 500, but with a much smaller population.
“We are by no means the worst in the country,” Johnson said.READ MORE: Oakland County Prosecutor's Office Dedicate Tree To Commemorate Crime Victims' Rights Week
Immigration and Customs Police in Detroit recently made national news when they shot and killed a 20-year-old man who was armed with a hammer.
But while Baltimore burned and rioters took over the streets after a civilian died in police custody, Detroiters gathered in a few peaceful protests after this shooting.
David Malhalab, a retired Detroit police sergeant, blames Detroit’s bad public relations for the fact the city’s reputation never seems to change, no matter how many times other major cities take over the bad news banner. “New York is the greatest city in the world, Chicago is the Windy City, a cosmopolitan city, Detroit is a place you come to get shot.”
Though it tends to get painted in overly broad, ugly strokes, the reputation is one the city has at times deserved, he added.
“The perception is that Detroit is changing, but until you have safe streets and safe schools and neighborhoods you can walk in, Detroit is going to retain a crime-ridden image. And that (change) is not going to happen in the next 10 years,” Malhalab said.
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