The New Reality For U.S. Cities: No Money For Street Lights, Roving Packs Of Wild Dogs And Open-Air Drug Markets

If you want to know what the early stages of an economic collapse look like, just walk around some of the downtown areas of our major cities.  Today, nearly all large U.S. cities are either flat broke or they are on the way to being flat broke.  Yes, New York City and Washington D.C. (and a few others) are still doing fairly well, but for most U.S. cities economic reality is catching up with them very quickly.  Right now, there are a number of major cities that are so broke that they cannot keep the street lights operating.  Down in St. Louis, parents in some areas are carrying golf clubs with them as they walk their kids to school in order to fend off roving packs of wild dogs.  In other major U.S. cities, open-air drug markets conduct business without fear.  All over the United States, cities that used to be clean and prosperous and full of hope are now being transformed into post-industrial wastelands.  We are certainly not in "Mad Max" territory yet, but it doesn't take too much imagination to see where all of this is headed.

I have previously written about how Detroit is literally coming apart at the seams.  Well, now in many areas of the city they can't even keep the street lights on anymore.  There simply is not enough money, and even if there was, thieves are stealing the copper wiring out of the street lights faster than the city can repair them.

At this point, there are some neighborhoods in Detroit where up to 50 percent of the street lights are not functioning.

The following is from a recent article in The Detroit News about this crisis....

The war to keep the lights on in Detroit is a serious one. Thieves, antiquated equipment and a lack of funding have made it impossible for city officials to catch up to the problem.

City officials estimate 15-20 percent of the 88,000 lights in the Motor City are not working, and they acknowledge that figure could be as high as 50 percent in some neighborhoods.

But it is not just Detroit that is having a major problem.  Over in Highland Park, Michigan the majority of the street lights have been repossessed because the city was not keeping up with the electricity bill.

So what are residents of Highland Park supposed to do?

Are they supposed to lock themselves in their own homes at night?

In Fresno, California the theft of copper wire from street lights has become a total nightmare.  At this point, the loss of copper wire and the cost of repairing the street lights is costing Fresno about $50,000 a month.  So far, approximately 2,500 street lights have been stripped of their wiring.

Down in St. Louis they are having a different problem.  In some of the worst areas of the city, roving packs of wild dogs are a serious threat to children that are walking to school.

A recent report by the local CBS affiliate in St. Louis described the situation this way....

...Lewis Reed is sounding the alarm. "I’ve witnessed packs of dogs, 10 and 15 dogs running together, and I’ve seen all these dogs I’m talking about they don’t have collars, they don’t have tags, these are truly wild dogs," he said.

Reed says stray dogs are terrorizing the north side. "It’s obscene that parents have to walk their kids to school, in some parts of the city, with a golf club to fend off wild dogs."

Can you imagine that?

They say that they are going to try to put more money into animal control efforts if they can find it.  But like most major U.S. cities, St. Louis is a financial basket case.

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Tags: cities, dogs, drug, lights, markets, money, new, open-air, reality, roving, More…street

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