Crime Is Down, but Not for These Cities

Detroit tops the list of cities where violence and poverty are inextricably linked.

Flint, Mich., tops the list of most violent cities in the country. (Google)

MSNBC is reporting that although the FBI announced last week that violent crime is down, the Northeast saw an increase in murders (8.3 percent), forcible rapes (1.4 percent) and aggravated assaults (0.7 percent). Why that region was affected by crime more than others isn't clear. Perhaps it was because of the grinding poverty found in some of the area's cities and their high cost of living.

MSNBC reports that the Police Executive Research Forum polled 233 local law-enforcement agencies in 2009 and found that the link between poverty and crime was inextricable. A prolonged recession would only make matters worse, the research showed. After reviewing the data, PERF Executive Director Chuck Wexler told Reuters, “We are not saying there is going to be a crime wave, but we are saying this is a wake-up call, and we anticipate the situation will continue to deteriorate.”

Even when crime rates dropped, older urban areas still had more violent crime, like Buffalo, N.Y.; Philadelphia; Cleveland; and Hartford, Conn. Crime is not necessarily explained by poverty; it is also explained by the reduction in police forces in those areas. For example, Pontiac, Mich., part of the corridor of high-crime cities that runs from Detroit to Flint, recently turned over its police operations to the sheriff's office of Oakland County, where Pontiac is located.

The top-five list of America's most dangerous cities in America with populations over 100,000 is as follows:

1. Flint, Mich.

2. Detroit

3. St. Louis, Mo.

4. New Haven, Conn.

5. Memphis, Tenn.

This study highlights what has been proved time and again: High numbers of unemployment result in high levels of crime. The two are inextricably linked, and one cannot exist without the other. The way that unemployment is plaguing black communities in these cities is outrageous. We're not surprised that there is an uptick in violent crime despite a decline nationally. The question is, when are we going to do something about unemployment?