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Sun Feb 17, 2013, 11:34 PM

Pine Bluff, Ark.: on patrol in the most dangerous little town in America

Source: The Independent (UK)

... Officer Rick Bunting can only smile. He has drawn the short straw today, picked by Police Chief Jeff Hubank to make room in the front of his squad car for a visiting journalist. “Keep him safe,” the chief warns. “And keep him in the car if stuff is going down.” Somehow we end up mostly forgetting that second part.

Pine Bluff has nine prisons, 90 churches and a population of 49,000, down from 65,000 three decades ago. The town and its surrounds, swelling the population to 100,000, has recently been ranked the second most dangerous metropolitan area in America after Detroit (population 1.8 million), based on violent crime statistics such as murder, rape and kidnapping.

... That Pine Bluff is not in its prime is obvious. Main Street is a parade of boarded-up shops and businesses. Half-way down, the giant and once splendid Hotel Pines, which opened in 1913, is falling in on itself, the tiled floor of the lobby littered with chunks of broken marble and pigeon droppings. Testimony to vanished prosperity is everywhere, including the abandoned industrial buildings, left to the mercy of vagabonds who strip them of their wiring to get money for drugs. “Pine Bluff has just sort of faded away,” says Bunting.

... All the usual dynamics are at play, including poverty and bad schools. “We have kids coming out of school who can't fill out a job application. They can't even write a freaking sentence or know where to put the pronoun,” Hubank laments. “What employer is going to want to employ them?” And then there are the drugs. People who buy and sell them accounted for almost all the murders in 2012, according to Hubank. “The reality is, the little old white lady with the kitten on her lap is perfectly safe in this town. But if you are slinging dope on the east side, you are looking to pay with your life.”

Read more: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/pine-bluff-on-patrol-in-the-most-dangerous-little-town-in-america-8498769.html

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Reply Pine Bluff, Ark.: on patrol in the most dangerous little town in America (Original post)
Newsjock Feb 2013 OP
Hestia Feb 2013 #1

Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 01:26 AM

1. I literally just moved from PB - it ain't that bad. I never lived in fear but in sadness.

This is a dying town and no one will pull the plug. Most of the neighborhoods are abandoned. Decaying, moldering houses everywhere. The only reason they don't tear them down is because then everyone will see just how bad it actually is. All the white collar jobs have left. But, there is a serial arsonist who's been working there for years. S/he goes between LR then PB, back to LR, etc. Over 200 houses burned down - all abandoned - in PB in 3 year period. Shows you just how many abandoned houses there are.

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