Housing vacancies abound in Detroit. (Getty Images)

It is serious in Detroit.

The Motor City apparently has been so emptied by urban flight that officials are now parsing out services, such as tree trimming, code enforcement and lighting. That means if residents live in blighted neighborhoods, it's going to be dark at night for a minute.

Mayor David Bing said the city's focus will be on neighborhoods where people live, according to the Associated Press. The story says Detroit's population of about 713,000 is down about 200,000 from 10 years ago, according to census figures, and has fallen more than 1 million since 1950.

Now, Bing says, the city is feeling the strain of the loss because some neighborhoods have more vacant than occupied homes. He called the changes a "short-term intervention" necessary because the city, with limited financial resources, a $155 million budget deficit and a dwindling population, was spread dangerously thin, the AP writes:

Bing's plan isn't about shrinking Detroit — the boundaries of the 139-square-mile city aren't receding. The plan also backs away from forcing the redistribution of what's left of the population into areas where people still live and where the houses aren't on the verge of caving in. Many residents had strongly opposed that idea.


"We will not force anybody to move," Bing said. "We want people to move into the areas that are going to grow; where we have the amenities, the density."

He stressed that police, fire and emergency medical service will be at the same levels in all neighborhoods.

It's a good thing that police and fire will go untouched. We all know the dangers that lurk amid abandoned houses. But the question to ask is how the plan will impact African-American communities, which have been decimated in the city by high unemployment. Is this adding insult to injury?


Read more at CNBC.

In other news: NAACP: End the War on Drugs.