Once someone develops a bad reputation, no matter how hard they may try to reverse others’ opinions of them, it’s a difficult challenge only time can fix. The same holds true for cities.
Once a city becomes known as a haven for criminal elements where it isn’t safe to walk the streets, or taking a wrong turn could be the last turn you ever take, people quit visiting and residents start searching for a new hometown.
It’s tough for a city to shake a bad rap and it can take years to recover, if they can recover at all. It may only be a few areas of a major metropolis which are affected by high crime rates while the rest are safe and civilized. But the good parts of town never make the evening news. We only hear about the shootings, stabbings, looting, and home invasions in the parts of town we wouldn’t purposely wander into anyway.
Here are some cities hoping against all hope to overcome their past stigmas. Is it really possible to change public opinion after all we’ve either seen or heard about these places?
There are t-shirts reading, “I’m so bad I vacation in Detroit.” This sums up the common viewpoint of this major city riffed in crime with an in the dumper economy and an all but nonexistent job market. The race riots in the 1960’s presented American’s with a first-hand look at the violence and destruction running rampant in the streets. These gruesome images etched indelible visions in the minds of many American’s, even the passage of time can’t erase.
Since 1950, Detroit’s population has diminished by 61 percent causing city officials to declare a state of bankruptcy from the loss of tax revenue. All the city houses and buildings sit abandoned, rat-infested, and in condemnable disrepair. After the auto industry took a nosedive and a huge Shaquille O’Neil sized handful of the cities government officials were indicted for corruption, Detroit seemed to wave the white flag of surrender.
Flip side: Detroit is actually seeing the biggest surge in redevelopment in decades. Mixed use projects are springing up, bringing together everything from public spaces to retail to residential to entertainment. The hope is that this will draw people (both residents and visitors) back into the city.
St. Louis, Mo.
St. Louis wins the award for having more strip clubs per capita than any other city in America. Obesity and violence also hold the number one position. Oddly, they also have the most cosmetic surgeons per capita. Maybe for the strippers? The city is considered safer than only one percent of all US cities with violent crimes being committed against one in every 1000 residents annually.
Property crimes affect 63.64 in 1000, or well over half of all residents. In the entire state of Missouri, your chances of becoming a victim of violent crime are one in 201. In St. Louis however, it is one in 55. In one year alone, there were 188 murders, 264 rapes, 1,790 robberies, and 3,522 assaults.
Flip side: The areas where tourists are likely to visit are safe. The entertainment districts, shopping areas, and commercial areas are fine from open of business to close. We wouldn’t, however, advise taking a tour of neighborhoods outside these zones, just to see how the locals live. Like any big city, if you don’t know where you’re going, you could be in big trouble.
In an effort to capture a portion of the masses visiting their neighboring city of Las Vegas, restaurants, bars, gas stations, and every other place in Reno where a slot machine can fill an otherwise unused space, offer freebies such as steak dinners and alcohol to would-be gamblers. This, of course, has a tendency to attract a more seedy clientele who can get drunk and full for a couple of quarters. Owners stand outside like carnival barkers trying to pull people in.
Though city officials adamantly claim the cities crime rate is going down, this only applies to property crimes. Violent crimes are on the upswing. Property crimes are still higher by 13.08 percent of the rest of the country, but violent crimes have soared to 33.68 percent higher.
Flip side: Reno calls itself as “The Biggest Little City in the World,” but it’s the wealth of outdoor and adventure activities that makes it worth the risk. Its proximity to gorgeous desert, mountains, rivers and lakes makes it a great destination for those who love the outdoors. Maybe visitors should get out of downtown and experience the whitewater rafting, skiing, boating, and hiking that are available.
Cleveland may be considered the Rock & Roll capital of the world with its famous Rock & Roll Museum, but there isn’t anything rocking about this city when it comes to crime. Cleveland has bragging rights for lowering their crime rate over the past five years or so, but they still have a very long road to hoe. There were 5,449 violent crimes in 2012, and by the end of 2017, this figure is expected to stand at around 5003.
In recent years, Cleveland’s violent crime rate has been 256.67 percent higher than the national average, with property crimes coming in at 118.59 percent higher. The violent crime rate jumps up to a staggering 361.76 percent higher when compared to the rest of Ohio and 100.48 percent higher for property crimes.
Make sure and lock your vehicle. Car thefts are off the hook in Cleveland. The city receives way fewer visitors then it once did as its desirability factor continues falling by the wayside.
Flip side: Cleveland may not be the city it used to be, but it can still show visitors a good time. With major league sports, lots of excellent beer and tasty food, a world-class orchestra, and, of course, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, you’ll find plenty about the city to like. Car thefts? They do have decent public transportation and there’s always Uber.
Camden is considered to be one of the most dangerous cities from sea to shining sea. Prior to the deportation of many American jobs, huge players like RCA and General Electric had massive facilities in Camden so good jobs were fairly plentiful. These days it’s a ghost town of boarded-up abandoned buildings and houses.
Lots of Camden’s residents had to pull up stakes and the lack of revenue is evident by the cities immensely understaffed police department. Once decent family neighborhoods are now overrun by gangs, and there are more crack houses and meth labs than anywhere else in the nation. It’s a literal war zone. It holds the number four position for dangerous cities in the US.
Annually, there are 20 violent crimes per 1000 residents, or 1,523. There are 2,859 property crimes or almost 38 per 1000, or almost 58 in 1000 residents will have something bad happen to them.
Flip side: The Camden Waterfront development is underway with over $1 billion allotted. Attractions like the Adventure Aquarium, Camden Children’s Garden, the Campbell’s Field, and the BB&T Pavilion attract locals and visitors. The plan calls for small office space, residential units (with 20% set aside for affordable housing), and new headquarters for large companies such as Subaru. The developer has pledged to recruit Camden residents for construction and offer local internships.
If you simply have to visit one of these cities for any reason, first off, may the force be with you, secondly, see if one of those cosmetic surgeons in St. Louis can put eyes in the back of your head. They may come in handy.