When will the violence end?

It’s no big secret that I live in Michigan, but most don’t know where I actually live though and that’s okay with me. But there are times when I meet others and they ask where I live in Michigan and I explain it to them. Lately though, I’ve been thinking more and more about it because I live so close to Flint and I often wonder what people think of that.

Flint at one time was a great city! Seriously, it was. Flint was played a huge part in the auto industry and was key in getting the shops unionized through the sit down strike in 1936 – 1937. Ever since 2002  things have been going down hill… a huge amount of the industry has left the area, it’s had a state appointed financial manager appointed twice, and worst of all crime has increased to a point where people are afraid to go out.

There isn’t a day that doesn’t go by when I turn on the news in the morning and one of the major headlines is that there has been another murder. Every. Single. Day there is another one. So here’s a stat for you…. as of Tuesday morning there had been a total of 40 homicides in Flint with 2010 being the year with the highest number of homicides at 65. We’re barely half way through the year!!

Every single one of these deaths has been preventable. Every single one was unnecessary. Every single one was a life lost. A mother…. father… son… daughter… friend… Each of those people meant something to someone.

My question is when is the violence going to end. When will it be safe again?

When I was younger we used to head out to Flint on a whim… we’d hit the mall, the college bars, and just have fun without thinking much about it. Now, well now I don’t go to Flint at night alone and when I do go I make sure that I stick to certain areas that I know very well and are considered “safer” than others. My daughter who can drive isn’t allowed to go to Flint at all.

Here are a few more stats to ponder:

Violent crimes per 1,000: 23.4
Population: 102,357
2011 murders: 52
Median income: $22,672
Unemployment rate: 18.9%

Is it any wonder that Flint has been named the #1 most dangerous city in the U.S. by the FBI. Though the violent crimes have been a problem in Flint, in 2010 the city laid off 20 of its 140 police officers, a decision that diminished both the police’s street presence and response times to crime. Things just keep getting worse too.

Here’s my question…. how long before the violence spreads and ends up here? What happens when it hit a small town like this? What do I do to protect my kids? Honestly…. it’s only a matter of time.

I’m linking up with Shell this week for Pour Your Heart Out… this has been weighing on my mind a lot lately.