DETROIT, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- Low morale among Detroit police officers is to blame for a rise of violent crime in the city as the number of arrests has declined, officials say.
Speaking at a recent command accountability meeting, Cmdr. Steve Dolunt said arrests have plummeted across the city, The Detroit News reported Monday.
Dolunt said arrests in the eastern district dropped to 1,700 in the last quarter of 2012, down from 1,899 in the same period in 2011.
That district, he said, is "the most violent district in the country."
Two years ago, some 2,342 arrests were made in that district in the fourth quarter.
A precinct in northwest Detroit had 366 arrests in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared to 984 in the last quarter of 2010.
Joe Duncan said the dramatic number were not unexpected. The retired president of the Detroit police Officers Association, Duncan said "When you feel like you're undercompensated and underappreciated, you're not going to perform your job as well as you would otherwise. That's just human nature."
He's referring to drastic pay and benefits cuts, and longer work hours, imposed on officers last year. Their salaries were cut 10 percent and benefits reduced. They also were forced to work 12-hour shifts to put more police on patrol.
One Detroit police officer said morale was a real problem. Speaking anonymously for rear of retribution, he said officers still worked major crimes such as assaults and robberies, the newspaper said.
But they're not bothering with the smaller things," he said.