The New York Times magazine does a police ridealong in Flint, Mi., one of the nation’s murder capitals. Last year in Flint, population 102,000, there were 66 documented murders. The murder rate is worse than in Newark, St. Louis, and New Orleans. It's even worse than Baghdad's.
There are only six patrolmen on duty for a Saturday night. So broke is Flint that the city laid off two-thirds of its police force in the last three years. The front desk looks like a dusty museum piece. Officer Steve Howe, a 20-year-veteran of the department, says, “We ain't cops anymore. We're librarians. We take reports. We don't fight crime.”A 50-mile drive with Howe proves to be a slow night. “Last weekend we had four murders,” he says.