In a recent poll, Detroit residents pegged crime as their biggest concern. This bucks the national trend of Americans worrying less and less about safety as crime rates drop. In fact, only one percent of Americans elsewhere believe that crime is the nation’s most important problem.

Much more troublesome, Detroit residents also say they plan to move—likely due, in part, to their daily concerns about public safety.

Without a viable workforce, economic development in Detroit will likely remain stunted, unable to thrive without citizens to fill the jobs, buy consumer goods in city limits, or use services that employ other Detroit citizens.

Evidence-based criminal justice policy is key to fixing the problem in Detroit and in similar cities. With targeted interventions that truly address the underlying causes of crime, low-level offenders can effectively be rehabilitated, leaving prison bed space free to house the violent, dangerous offenders each jurisdiction needs off its streets to truly thrive.