Heartache for families of victims of violence as Detroit saw an increase in homicides during 2020

Detroit police vehicle
Posted at 6:03 PM, Jan 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-06 18:03:19-05

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Reginae Williams was at home with her mom, dad, and brothers and sisters when someone drove by and opened fire on their home on Detroit's east side on October 28.

And for Etosha and Reginald Williams, more than two months after their little girl with such a bright smile was killed, it's still surreal that she's gone.

"We still catch ourselves buying food for her," said Etosha. "We just miss her so much."

Reginae was one of 327 people who were the victims of homicide in 2020.

"While Detroit saw a 19-percent increase in homicides this year, we haven't seen the increase of some of the other major cities across the country," Detroit Police Chief James Craig said, pointing out drastically higher numbers of homicides in several other cities across the country, including Chicago.

On Wednesday, Chief Craig released other 2020 crime statistics for the city of Detroit.

There were 1,173 non-fatal shooting victims in 2020 - an increase of 53-percent over the 767 people who survived being shot in 2019.

Crimes where Detroit saw a decrease in offenses include rape, robbery, and burglary.

Chief Craig attributes stay at home orders and more people working from home for the decrease in those crimes, and he says the stresses of the pandemic along with an increase in drug and alcohol use can be tied to the increase in most violent crime.

Two men have been arrested in Reginae's murder.

"I wouldn't wish this on no parent," Reginae's mom said, adding that their faith in God is helping them get through such an unimaginable loss, moment by moment. "It's terrible to wake up without your child every single day knowing that it wasn't due to your neglect or a terminal illness. It was because cowards, people who like to go around and terrorize the city and shoot off guns and don't care about the next person."

"I'm glad we closed the door on 2020," said Chief Craig. "Because 2021 has got to be better."