Gangs in American Cities, Part Two – Some Large American Cities Degenerating Into Gang-Infested War Zones

Large cities all over the country degenerating into gang-infested war zones, and what we are seeing right now is just the tip of the iceberg. 67% of firearm murders took place in the country’s 50 largest metro areas. The 62 cities in those metro areas have a firearm murder rate of 9.7, more than twice the national average. Among teenagers the firearm murder rate is 14.6 or almost three times the national average.

Those are our nation’s crowded cities. Those are the places with the most restrictive gun control laws and the highest crime rates.  In 2006, the 54% of the population living in those 50 metro areas was responsible for 67% of armed killings nationwide. Those are disproportionate numbers especially when you consider that for the people living in most of those cities walking into a store and legally buying a gun is all but impossible.

The majority of murders in the cities with the worst homicide rates are gang-related. And while it isn’t always possible to be certain whether a killing was gang-related, the majority of homicide victims in city after city have been found to have criminal records.

In 2010, there were 11,078 firearm homicides in the United States and over 2,000 known gang-related killings, over 90% of which are carried out with firearms. Since 1981, Los Angeles alone has had 16,000 gang related homicides. That’s more than twice the number of Americans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This is what big city America looks like today. It’s a place where life is cheap and illegal guns are as available as illegal drugs. It’s the war that we aren’t talking about, because it’s easier to talk about the inanimate objects being used to fight that war.

Let’s take a look at a few of the large cities:

Chicago

In recent years there have been massive cuts to the police budget in Chicago due to financial difficulties. At the same time, gang activity has dramatically increased in the city.

As a result, Chicago has become known for murders and violence. The murder rate in Chicago was about 17 percent higher in 2012 than it was in 2011, and Chicago is now considered to be “the deadliest global city“.

If you can believe it, the number of murders in Chicago during 2012 was roughly equivalent to the number of murders in the entire country of Japan during 2012.

And the primary reason for all of this violence in Chicago is the gangs. As I have written about previously, There are only about 200 police officers assigned to Chicago’s Gang Enforcement Unit. It is their job to handle the estimated 100,000 gang members living in the city.

Approximately 80 percent of all murders and shootings in the city of Chicago are gang-related, and as the gangs continue to grow in size the violence in the city is going to get even worse. If Barack Obama wants to do something about violence in America, perhaps he should start with his home city.

Detroit

Detroit is a perfect example of where the rest of America is headed if something dramatic is not done.

Detroit used to be one of the greatest manufacturing cities the world has ever seen, but over the past several decades the economic infrastructure of Detroit has been gutted and now there is very little industry left in the city.

Over half the children in the city live in poverty and a sense of hopelessness hangs in the air. At the same time, financial problems have forced the city to lay off huge numbers of cops. Back in 2005, there were about 4,000 police officers in Detroit. Today there are only about 2,500 and another 100 are scheduled to be eliminated from the force soon.

Meanwhile, crime in Detroit just continues to get even worse. There were 377 homicides in Detroit in 2011. In 2012, that number rose to411.

Things have gotten so bad that even even the Detroit police are telling people to “enter Detroit at your own risk“.

Camden

Camden, New Jersey is another city that has experienced huge cuts to the police budget. Their police force shrank by about a third between 2008 and 2011. Today, Camden is considered to be one of the most dangerous cities in America and it has a murder rate that is about ten times higher than New York City.

The gangs have a very strong hold over Camden, and kids kill kids on a regular basis in the city. The following is a brief excerpt from a recent article about the horrible violence that is plaguing Camden

At the vigil last week, residents prayed that Camden would simply find peace and that the masked gunman who killed Jewel Manire and Khalil Gibson would be caught.

As it grew darker, Michael Benjamin stood toward the back of the crowd, his son huddled even closer now, and shook his head.

“I’ve known at least 45 kids who’ve been killed in my lifetime,” he said, the boy holding his finger. “I stopped counting in 2004, though.”

East St. Louis

East St. Louis has a national reputation for being a city that you want to avoid. The following is from a Bloomberg article about the growing crime in that community…

Dodging open manholes where thieves had swiped cast-iron covers, Stephen Wigginton drives the crumbling streets of his hometown, East St. Louis, Illinois, pointing out new landmarks in America’s most violent city.

There’s the shopping mall where a police officer was shot in the face, a youth center that saw a triple homicide in September, and scattered about the city of 27,000 are brightly lit gas stations that serve as magnets for carjackers, hit-and-run robbers and killers.

“It’s the Wild West,” said Wigginton, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Illinois.

Today, the murder rate in East St. Louis is 17 times higher than the national average, but financial problems have forced huge cuts to the police budget. The number of police patrolling the streets of East St. Louis was reduced by 33 percent between 2008 and 2011. Police in the city admit that they are outgunned and outmanned, but there is not much that can be done about it.

New Orleans

New Orleans was a crime-infested city even before Hurricane Katrina hit it in 2005, but life has never quite been the same since that time.

The gangs have a very strong presence in the city, and there simply are not enough financial resources to keep crime in check.

If New Orleans was considered to be a separate nation, it would have the 2nd highest murder rate on the entire planet. There are some areas of New Orleans that you simply do not ever want to venture into at night.

Meanwhile, the police force has been such a mess in recent years that the federal government finally decided to step in. It is hoped that the “reforms” will mean less crime in New Orleans in future years, but I wouldn’t count on it.

Oakland

Today, there are 626 police officers in Oakland, California. That is about a 25 percent decline from the 837 police officers that were patrolling the streets of Oakland back in December 2008.

Predictably, criminals have stepped in and have taken advantage of the situation. At one point in 2012, burglaries in the city of Oakland were up43 percent over the previous year.

If you can believe it, more than 11,000 homes, cars and businesses were burglarized in Oakland during 2012. That breaks down to approximately 33 burglaries a day.

Stockton

Police cuts in the city of Stockton, California have been so severe that the Stockton Police Officers’ Association ran a billboard advertisement with the following message at one point: “Welcome to the 2nd most dangerous city in California: Stop laying off cops!”

At the same time, crime in Stockton continues to get even worse. there have been more than 250 gold chain robberies in Stockton since the month of April, and there is no indication that crime in the city is going to slow down any time soon.

So what is the solution?

Should we have everyone turn in their guns?

No, that would just make the problem even worse. The gangs aren’t going to turn in their guns. The only people who would turn in their guns would be law-abiding citizens. That would just make them even more vulnerable to the violence and crime that are starting to spread like wildfire all over the nation.

American cities used to be the homes of industry and progress. Now they’re places where young Black and Hispanic men kill each other in growing numbers.

America does not need gun control. It is a mostly law-abiding place. And gun control cannot help the inner cities of America. Not when its murder rate is driven by gangs who have no trouble obtaining anything; whether it’s legal in the United States or not.

Gun control efforts in Chicago or any other major city are doomed because gangs represent organized crime networks which stretch down to Mexico, and trying to cut off their gun supply will be as effective as trying to cut off their drug supply.

Across the nation, hundreds of thousands of young men and women are caught up in gangs. In some areas, this lethal game is the only world they know.

This country does not need to have a conversation about how many bullets should go in a gun’s magazine. It does need to have a conversation about how many parents should go in a family. It needs to talk about the ghettos of our nation and have a serious conversation about broken families and generational dependency.

Historically, trying to tackle just one of the core issues of the gang problem has proven impossible. Trying to solve the education crisis, family breakdown, and increasing crime rates simultaneously has proven impossible—especially when one takes into account that the world is grappling with the worst economic downturn it has ever seen. There is simply not enough money to effect change.

We need to set aside the same old tired social justice rhetoric and have a serious conversation about what is wrong with New Orleans, Detroit and Chicago. And we need to do it before it’s too late.

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