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Detroit residents want more police on streets, far more concerned about crime than misconduct, poll

New poll finds Detroit residents, 9-1, far more worried about crime than police misconduct.

Updated: July 26, 2021 - 4:07pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Residents in Detroit, one the country's most dangerous cities, are far more worried about crime than police misconduct, according to a new USA Today poll.

By a 9-to-1 difference, residents would feel much safer with more police on the streets, not fewer like, amid call in U.S. unrban centers and elsewhere across the country to "defund" police departments. 

"It's scary sitting in the house, and when you go outside to the gas station or the store, it's possible someone will be shooting right next to you," said Detroit resident Charlita Bell, among those called in the phone survey.

Residents also reject the widely used slogan "defund the police" by 3-1, although some did still complain of excessive force by law enforcement officers.

The poll found the biggest concern among Detroit residents was education, followed by public safety.

Police reform – a concern held more by whites in the poll than blacks – was the last concern out of eight major topics including jobs, housing and taxes.

About 12% of white respondents were most concerned about police misconduct, while just 3% of black respondents named police reform as the city's top concern.

However, 24% of blacks were most concerned about safety, while just 10% of whites cited safety as the city's top issue, showing a significant difference in perspective by race. 

The USA Today/Suffolk University/Detroit Free Press poll surveyed 500 residents from July 13-17 by landline and cellphone. 

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