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The Most Dangerous Cities in America and America’s Most Corrupt States


The Most Dangerous Cities in America


Today, the FBI announced that violent crime dropped 4% in 2011, compared to a 5.5% drop in 2010. Nationally, the murder rate fell 1.9% from 2010, and robbery, forcible rape and assault fell 4% each. However, among the cities with the highest violent crimes rates, the trend is not entirely positive.

A 24/7 Wall St. review of 2011 FBI crime data shows that violent crime rose in more than half of the cities that have among the highest rates in the country. In seven of the 10 cities, murder rates increased. In eight of the 10, burglary went up.

Strained budgets are forcing police layoffs that many cities cannot afford to make. More than half of local police departments that responded to a national survey reported cuts in the 2011 fiscal year, according to the Police Executive Research Forum, an organization of police executives from across the country. Many are cutting police forces through planned layoffs and attrition.
More than half of the cities with the highest violent crime rates are cutting law enforcement budgets and police forces as well. However, unlike the national picture, the situation is worse for these cities, which depend on tax bases that are shrinking faster than most.
The cities with the highest crime rates tend to have particularly high poverty rates, high unemployment and low median income. Two of the worst-off cities, Flint and Detroit, Mich., both have had well-publicized budget woes. Flint was taken over by an emergency city manager after failing to pay its bills in 2011. Detroit is facing similar budget problems and recently came to a temporary oversight agreement with the state.
While PERF notes that budget cuts appear to be slowing in police departments in the United States, most departments are still cutting. According to the group’s April report on local police budgets, this includes many of the cities on this list.

America’s Most Corrupt States


Among Virginia’s ethical failings are poor government oversight, weak consumer protections and poor separation between politicians and big business. Overall, it receives nine Fs. One of the state’s greatest offenses is its exemption of its State Corporation Commission — a regulatory agency that is responsible for overseeing all businesses, utilities, financialinstitutions and railroads in the state — from its Freedom of Information Act. While Virginia has a General Assembly Conflict of Interests Act, the law has proven incredibly inefficient. Only one legislator has ever been prosecuted for violating it — 26 years ago. The state is also weak on enforcing disclosure laws. In 2004, it was discovered that former Democratic Governor L. Douglas Wilder failed to file disclosure reports for his gubernatorial election campaign. Worst still, approximately $169,000 from his campaign account was unaccounted for. Consequently, L. Douglas Wilder, Jr., the former governor’s son and one-time campaign treasurer, pleaded guilty to two election law misdemeanors in 2007, resulting in a $1,000 fine and a suspended one-year sentence.

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