SAGINAW (WJRT) (1/4/2018) - The total number of all violent crimes decreased in the city of Saginaw last year while the number of homicides increased.
Saginaw Police Chief Robert Ruth released crime statistics for the city on Thursday, noting violent crime dropped about 3 percent in 2017 compared to a year earlier.
Violent crimes include rape, aggravated assault, armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon.
However, the number of homicides in the city hit 16, which is a 45 percent increase over the 11 reported in 2016. Even with the increase, the number of homicides is much lower than the 27 reported in both 2012 and 2013.
Ruth attributed the increase in homicides to the growing heroin epidemic gripping Saginaw and much of Mid-Michigan. He said there is a clear connection between heroin and some of the violent crime in the city -- and even low-level crime like petty theft.
Ruth said the police department's goal is to attack the drug problem, which would lower crime in other categories. He credited the FBI, Michigan State Police and Saginaw County Sheriff's Office for working with Saginaw police to fight crime.