Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Neighborhood Violence

Detroit is often cited fondly as "the murder capital of the world". On It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia this year, Mac was wearing a shirt with the word "Detroit" spelled to look like a pistol. It was a pretty cool shirt, but the message is pretty clear. People far and wide talk about entering the city limits as a death-defying feat that should only be attempted absolutely never. Of all the perceived negativity around the city, fear of violence probably stands near the top of the heap, particularly for those who might even consider moving into the city. Even for people who have an affinity for that rundown metropolis on the banks of the Detroit River, there is a subliminal and constant fear of something bad happening. Someone might rob you or beat you up or Lafayette Coney Island may run out of hot dogs - all equally terrible outcomes.

For these reasons and more, I was not looking forward to looking through the list of the 25 Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in the U.S. for 2010. My basic underlying assumption was that neighborhoods in Detroit and thereabouts would populate the entirety of the top 10 and then probably a few more in the 15-25 range. I looked through the complete list, and when I finished looking through the list, I had to read the description of what was going on to make sure that I didn't miss something of key importance. You see, no where in the top 25 did a neighborhood from Detroit (or anywhere else in Michigan for that matter) fall. Detroit, "the murder capital of the world", does not have a single neighborhood in the top 25 most dangerous list. That is amazing. When I didn't see anywhere from Michigan on the list, I re-read to try to see if they called out "of course, this list intentionally excludes Michigan because Michigan has the top 10 most dangerous neighborhoods and we just wanted to be more diverse than that." As I did not see that or anything resembling that in the description, I take this list as pretty good news. The article explains "that even the cities with the highest crime rates can have relatively safe neighborhoods, and thus it is less useful to generalize about an entire city."

Something like this won't actually cause people to stop generalizing about the entire city, but it is good fodder to counter enemies of Detroit. The only thing better than arming yourself with armaments is information - neither of which you'll need in Detroit's neighborhoods.

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