After increasing in 2011, sexual assaults declined slightly last year, to sixty-nine. Seto believes the numbers are up because "there's more education and outreach these days, so there's more reporting. Most assaults are by someone known to the victim. It's not that there're more serial rapists. A couple of summers ago, there were a series of forcible sexual contacts, but those were not forcible rape."
"Crime is down nationwide," Hieftje points out. And compared to national patterns, "Ann Arbor's got a good demographic for less crime: more educated and more income." And despite last year's increase, the mayor predicts that "crime will continue to decline, especially if the economy comes back stronger. It's back in Ann Arbor, but people in the region are still hurting, and criminals are coming from places you wouldn't expect, like the father-son [burglary] team from Dexter."
The police chief agrees with the mayor. "Short-term, crime trends go up and down," Seto says, "but there has been a sustained downward trend that will probably continue for the foreseeable future."
Seto's department now has 119 sworn officers, which Hieftje describes as "full strength." The mayor doesn't think the city necessarily needs more police. "It's difficult to draw the line between more officers and less crime," he says. "But we could have better service, like yesterday when [it snowed heavily and] we had to handle 290 accidents in three hours."