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windex's avatar

How are these suggestions for improving Flint, Michigan, lowering the crime rate and raising the standard of living?

Asked by windex (2916 points ) August 29th, 2012

I’ve picked Flint because it’s one of the most dangerous cities in American according to a study of FBI crime statistics.
You go there, arrange a meeting with the top drug lords/gang leaders. You tell them that you will no longer arrest or harass any of their members/crew. they are free to sell and deal drugs. In return, they would have to contribute a very small portion of their profits towards making a drug effects information program. This is not a recovery center, just a program that tells people the pros and cons of all types of drugs.
There will be no selling to kids, and obviously x miles away from any school and/or government building. Selling/dealing/smoking will basically be tolerated within certain zones/areas.
You start a renovation/construction/remodeling program. Using people from the community, to build. Once houses, businesses, buildings, offices etc. are finished, people from the community will work there, and run those establishments.
I understand that some of the “permitting drugs” parts might be illegal, but there are 2 reasons for that:
1. Will they be doing what they are doing in x months, if no ones does anything?
2. You can’t make people do stuff, they will have to want to do it.
So after a couple of generations where the kids grow up in better households, safer neighborhoods and schools systems. They will be educated enough and smart enough to see and choose sitting in an air conditioned office, making a pretty descent salary vs. running around and risking your life in the streets.
I’m interested to know what your thoughts are on this. Please be positive and instead of saying things like “you will get shot in the first meeting if you can ever get one” please just think what if…

Clearly no one cares about anyone in the world, and no one is doing anything. I want to hear good solutions if you have them, or flaws in mine.

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13 Answers

FutureMemory's avatar

Well, I don’t think you’ll get much support for the idea of collaborating with criminals. Kind of like the “we don’t negotiate with terrorists” thing, it’s a line that law enforcement just doesn’t want to cross, at least not on that scale.

What you’ve proposed could be accomplished to an extent by legalizing and taxing illegal drugs. I think I would be in favor of that.

poisonedantidote's avatar

Well if you legalized drugs in the area that would fix a lot of problems on its own. When things are made illegal, it gives people a chance to profit with crime.

If drugs were made legal, a big drug store chain would move in and crush the dealers instantly, simply by having much better prices. Glaxo or some other company could pump out cocaine in to their stores for less than $4.99.

Gangs selling at $75 a hit are not going to keep selling trying to undercut wallmart, they just would not be able to.

Trillian's avatar

“Clearly no one cares about anyone in the world, and no one is doing anything.” What? You can’t back that statement up. Patently not true.
“You start a renovation/construction/remodeling program. Using people from the community, to build. Once houses, businesses, buildings, offices etc. are finished, people from the community will work there, and run those establishments.”
Specifically what businesses? What houses? Who is going to finance them? Who decides what business owners get to utilize them afterwards, and how is rent decided? Who gets the proceeds? Who plans the buildings? Are you aware of the different aspects such as electricity, plumbing, etc? What about zoning laws?
Are you planning on getting the help of local LEO’s? How do you know who and where the drug lords (HAHAHAHAHAHA, drug lords. I thought they were all in Columbia!) are, and how do you propose getting them to trust you, not to mention each other, long enough to meet? What makes you think you can trust them to abide by the strictures?
I can see your concept behind this, but I’d say you were going at this on the wrong angle.
Drug related criminal behaviour is a big problem in America, and low income, single parent households are statistically more at risk for lots of negative, life impacting variables that can result in continuation of that cycle, including poor academics.
Read Dr David Lykken’s work, and dig into the bibliographies of his articles.
Then see if you have any other ideas. The fact that you want to solve what you perceive as a problem rather than whining about “Why don’t they do something?” is encouraging.

FutureMemory's avatar

I gotta ask: have you seen the movie Roger and Me ? It’s about the economic collapse Flint suffered in the 1980’s when General Motors shipped tens of thousands of jobs to Mexico. If you’re interested in Flint’s history, it’s a must see.

windex's avatar

@FutureMemory Yes I actually watched it last week. Pretty good (and sad)

@Trillian Thanks for your comments. I say no one cares because I don’t see anyone doing anything about anything. We (both as a nation [America], and as a species) have the means, resources, knowledge and experience to fix almost any problem there is. But instead of doing that, most people just care about themselves and what “they” can get out of some deal…
I was thinking if we can take the worst situation possible, and turn it around, then we can show everyone that nothing is impossible.
As far as the finance, rent other questions, here is the answer. What happens when a bunch of people move to a certain part of the world and populate? They create a small society, a group of people that need food, shelter, clothing and everything from filing their taxes (tax services) to buying crap (consumers) etc.
As far as “trusting a drug dealer” I was thinking “best case scenario” . this was just a suggestion, even though I believe “respect” is really big in jails and in the criminal world.
Thanks for your time and input. Really interested in hearing more suggestions and solutions, thanks all.

Jeruba's avatar

So the rehabilitation of the area would depend on the success of the illegal drug market? In other words, the community would want to see drug dealers flourish because it would benefit them? That puts the incentive in the wrong place. You can’t expect people to work against their own best interests. And we are typically short-sighted: people wouldn’t consider the risks they take by supporting and encouraging addiction in their communities, not when they can see dollars-and-cents benefits to encouraging it.

Also it’s an unenforceable deal. How in the world would authorities exert any leverage over an enterprise that already thrives on defying them?

wilma's avatar

Have you ever been to Flint?
I have.
There are some wonderful places there, Kettering University, Sloan Museum, Flint Institute of Arts, I could go on.

Then there is the rest. People killing their neighbors and their neighbor’s children.
It’s not a place I would ever go alone, it’s not a place I would linger in a crowd. There is a lot of crossfire.

Your suggestions sound much too simplistic. As @Trillian and @Jeruba pointed out, there is so much more to consider.

As for Michael Moore, I don’t have a lot of respect for the man or his work. I haven’t see Roger and Me for a very long time, but as I recall it depicted a Flint that wasn’t very true to life and was all about class warfare. Moore didn’t grow up in Flint, but in Davison, in an upper middle-class family. In my opinion he is just trying to make a boatload of money off of sensationalizing a problem, and has succeeded.

windex's avatar

@Jeruba The idea behind “we’ll stay out of your way” or “we’ll scratch your back and you scratch ours” with the gangs/dealers is the best way I could think of (without spending any money) to prevent them from interfering with all the good the members of community are capable of doing, but are too scared or demoralized to do so.
I absolutely believe that if the government wanted to, they could “clean up the streets” in mere days. But instead of declaring martial law in a city like Flint I was thinking maybe encourage people to come to the good side by letting them see all the good their friends and neighbors are doing. If you send in a bunch of swat/military/police, it could potentially create yet another generation of kids whose parent/s were taken away by the system/popo* (*police) and they will have hate in their hearts and grow up hating authority figures. I believe love is much stronger than hate. But I’m absolutely open to alternative suggestions, anything but letting people suffer and continue to live in sh*ty circumstances.

Jeruba's avatar

Drug addiction causes extreme suffering, not only to the user but to the user’s family and friends and just about anyone who knows and cares about him or her. It is not a path to anything good.

Suppose we tell the hospitals in Flint to let a certain number of people go untreated, even to the point of death, and contribute what would otherwise be spent on them to the cause of improving housing? How does that idea sound?

I understand that you’re looking at where the money is and trying to see how it might be redirected, but this is not the way. Keep thinking creatively, though. That’s a start.

Trillian's avatar

“I absolutely believe that if the government wanted to, they could “clean up the streets” in mere days.”

Big brother much?
“I believe love is much stronger than hate.” What?
You are the one who wants a solution but so far you’ve come up with mist and moonshine. And anyone who uses “they should/they could” in a sentence about societal issues gets a drop kick from me.
They. They, they, they. Who are “they”? City legislators? State government? Federal? On what authority? You want to put a bandaid on a compound fracture.
I was serious when I advised you to do some more research. I gave you a starting point.

filmfann's avatar

Convince Donald Trump to go there. Let them steal his money, kill him, eat his flesh, and kill that thing on his head.

Jeruba's avatar

That’s awful, @filmfann, awful enough to warrant a GA.

augustlan's avatar

Your heart is in the right place, @windex, and that’s great! I’m glad you’re thinking about these things, and being creative about it. I’d go for legalizing the less harmful drugs first. That knocks out a good portion of the crime right away. If the government regulates and taxes the sale of these drugs, that money could go towards drug education/rehab and neighborhood improvement projects.

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