In Flint, Mi., says the Detroit News, nine abandoned homes were torched Monday and Tuesday, and a dozen burned in a four-hour period last month. The week before, a civil rights pioneer was killed in his upper-income neighborhood. Two weeks earlier, one of the police mini-stations erected as a solution to rising crime was burglarized. Once upon a time, these things shocked residents. That was before Flint led the nation last year in burglaries, arsons, aggravated assaults and murders, according to FBI statistics.
Violent crime surged even higher this year. The destitute city — once the third largest in Michigan — cut the number of police by two-thirds in three years. Vehicle City, the nickname given Flint as the birthplace of General Motors, has become the state’s version of Dodge City. “This is the worst it’s ever been,” said Patty Pruett, 43, who has lived in Flint for most of her life. “It’s a battlefield.” Because police are shorthanded, it takes patrols hours to respond to calls and, when they do, they fail to solve many cases, officers said. Even when police find suspects, they have no place to put them. The city jail has been shut for three years because of budget cuts, and the county jail is full. Criminals freely roam the streets while residents huddle in their homes like they’re in prison, officers and citizens said.