Danger is as much as an entity in some neighborhoods like a Whole Foods is in the suburbs. The chance of victimization in some areas is so high that many of those same residents would have a better chance of surviving if they jumped into freeway traffic. Burglary, arson, rape, robbery, and kidnapping in some neighborhoods are so high that the police, city leaders, and residents are totally baffled on how to stop it.
Crime is so pervasive in some areas that even Hollywood has become comfortable basing its shows on how awful life is for some people. In Baltimore, where so much of the city’s harm comes from poverty and substance abuse, the city served as a backdrop to the show The Wire on HBO. The show was a hit in part because of its accuracy about life on the streets for the police and criminals alike.
The worst part of it is that in many neighborhoods the threat of danger is as much of a commodity as oil, sugar, or wood. For instance, a drug dealer or gang member will use the threat of danger to get their way, forgetting that with each new threat their communities are set back almost indefinitely.
The list below is hardly about the sensationalized shootings that have captured the attention of the world. Rather, this is a list of the neighborhoods, and the people, whose struggles with danger have been long forgotten. Check out the 10 most dangerous neighborhoods in the United States.
10. Saginaw, Michigan – 1 in 12 Chance of Becoming a Victim
In the area around Genesee and Holland Avenues, little appears to go on. Most of the neighborhood is dotted with the typical working-class stores. There are convenience stores. There are some takeout restaurants. There are a ton of places to have a car serviced. The tire shops and automotive supply are common sights.
What’s just as common is the high rate of victimization in the area. According to MLive.com and ABC News, Saginaw city leaders are doing everything they can to fix the problem, but the FBI still considers Saginaw to be a place to go if one wants to get hurt.
9. Atlanta, Georgia – 1 in 12 Chance of Becoming a Victim
150 years ago, there was probably no way that residents of Atlanta, a southern stronghold for the Confederacy during the Civil War, would ever consider Atlanta the major player it is today. Aside from maybe Miami, only one other southern city would even have a possibility of holding an Olympics. The city is also a hub for major players in the business world like UPS, CNN, and Coca-Cola. Atlanta is a source of pride for all of the U.S.
The problem with Atlanta is that it has neighborhoods which that it probably wishes it could hide. Standing just outside a federal penitentiary, the area around Adair and Hopkins Street was reported by the Atlanta Journal Constitution to be one of America’s most dangerous cities with 1 in 12 chance of a person becoming a victim of a crime.
8. Oakland, California – 77 Crimes per 1,000 Residents
On one side of the San Francisco Bay, there is, of course, San Francisco. This is the town where there is a bagel shop on nearly every corner. People there love to eat “responsibly raised” animals. It is also one of the hubs for a number of progressive movements over the past 50 years. To the south of the Bay rests most of Silicon Valley. There, some of America’s wealthiest tech nerds call places like San Jose and Mountain View home.
Then there’s the East Bay. This is the region that Spice 1 made famous decades ago with his song “East Bay Gangster.” This is the same area where San Francisco 49ers fans would never tread, where Griselda Blanco’s young boyfriend resided, and where there is a high probability that someone living there has been a victim of crime.
7. Cleveland, Ohio – 165 Crimes for Every 1,000 Residents
LeBron James is a hero to so many people in Ohio. In particular, Cleveland residents are probably over the moon that he has managed to lead the hapless Cleveland Cavaliers to at least three NBA Finals. Even if he never wins a ring, Cleveland may be proud.
As good as Lebron is, there are parts of his hometown that are just as bad. They are like the post-Lebron Cavaliers bad. This is especially true for the Scovill area of Cleveland. There, nearly 1 out of every 6 people have a chance of becoming a victim. So, if a person looks to their left and looks to their right, the guy in the middle has their wallet.
6. Flint, Michigan – 580 Crimes per 100,000 Residents
For most Flint residents, there are only two things scarier than the crime rate. The first thing is the terrible water that they have been drinking. The facts are only recently coming to light that public officials neglected their duties in providing safe, clean drinking water and it is probable that many of them are going to jail. The problem with the water (high levels of lead) may not even show up as an issue until many of the residents, both children and adults, are much older. Heads are probably going to roll. The other issue? The fact that Michael Moore calls Flint home.
5. Milwaukee, Wisconsin – 1,295 Crimes per 100,000 Residents
Apparently Milwaukee has concerns beyond just drinking beer and shoveling snow. With a crime rate where nearly 1,300 crimes are committed for every 100,000 residents, not even the patron Saint Brett Favre can save most of the people here.
According to TheStreet.com, Milwaukee has a population of around 1.5 million people. With calculator in hand, that means that Milwaukee residents experience around 20,000 crimes every single year. Just think about how big that number is. For some perspective, think about the maximum number of people that can fit inside of the nearby United Center in Chicago. Even with every seat filled, it is only 20,500. That means that it is possible that every person inside of that arena during a Chicago Bulls home playoff game could have been a victim of crime.
4. Memphis, Tennessee – Consistently on the FBI’s Reports
The Uniform Crime Report is a report (obviously) that the FBI uses to help determine crime data. The data is usually split up into two distinct categories. The first category is “Part 1” crimes. These crimes are usually the most heinous. The murders. The kidnappings. The robberies. Then there are “Part 2” crimes. These are the lesser serious crimes like loitering or prostitution. For the past 5 years, Memphis has lead the charge in both areas. All kinds of crime, big and small, plague this city. Unfortunately, the FBI does not hand out any awards for “least livable city” in America.
3. East St. Louis, Illinois – 90 Murders per 100,000 People
Just like during the Dark Ages, sometimes beautiful things can come from such terrible circumstances. The Renaissance, the period just after the Dark Ages, acted as the flower that grew from the concrete poured over the souls of Europeans for years. Just like then, East St. Louis is has created some magic from the depths of its criminal hell. In East St. Louis, not one neighborhood is more dangerous than the other. In fact, the murder rate is currently higher than that of Honduras; a place known for its violence.
However, very notable people, like professional basketball player Darius Miles, All-Pro football player Bryan Cox, Olympian Jackie Joyner-Kersee, and even tennis legend Jimmy Connors call East St. Louis home. Well, maybe not their current home, but at one point it was.
2. Camden, New Jersey – 2,015 Crimes per 100,000 Residents
The issues in Camden are like a recipe book for how to take a once great city and then tear it down to a former shell of itself. The first ingredient is to have a gigantic economic boom during the early part of the 20th Century. This brought in people who did not want to live in New York City and sought a simpler life and it also brought a lot of money to the small city. Then, add in a downturn in the economy during the later half of the 20th Century, bringing this former prosperous city into despair.
Do not forget to add in a dash of racial hostility. With a working class city experiencing an economic free-fall during the Civil Rights era, tensions in the city grew and people who could leave, no matter their race, left and never came back. The final ingredient is to have political corruption. In fact, the movie American Hustle was based on a local politician accepting bribes from the mob. In the end, you have one dangerous city.
1. Detroit, Michigan – Most Dangerous City in America
The general rule is that the more fiercely a rapper represents his city, the worst the city is. The other rule is that the more intense a city is about their sports teams, the higher the crime is. This is not scientific of course, but Detroit manages to satisfy both of those rules.
Eminem and Kid Rock are some of Detroit’s most famous representatives. Of course, Motown has countless other musicians that call the city home, but not many of them have tattooed the logo of a local sports team on their forearm. Speaking of sports teams, despite how hapless the Lions are, fans are definitely behind the surge of the Tigers, the Red Wings have been a cornerstone in the NHL, and the Pistons are not too far removed from a couple NBA Championships.
These things are just the byproducts of Detroit’s problems. Corruption, economics, and an inability to keep up with a changing society have left Detroit as the hallmark of dangerous cities. The area around Kelly and Morang is known for its liquor stores and regular observances of murder victims. At this rate, D-Town has a long way to go.