Pine Bluff, Arkansas is the most dangerous town in America despite its rather small population of 49,000 people and its disconnect from major cities.
While the town houses only 49,000 residents, the economic downturn and rising gang activity led to 18 murders in Pine Bluff through all of 2012. Eighteen murders with a population of 49,000 is seven times the national average per capita.
2013 isn’t shaping up to be any better. Two people have already been killed in the town, placing it in second place behind Detroit, Michigan, a city with a population of 1.8 million people.
Speaking to The Independent, Police Chief Jeff Hubank proclaimed:
“To have 18 homicides is just an outrageous number for a town this size.”
Hubank further notes:
“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.”
Pine Bluff only recently fell into complete disarray after surviving the great flood of 1927, the Great Depression, and racial tensions in the 1960s.
Violence has become so pronounced in Pine Bluff that 16,000 people have fled the town over the last 30 years. The town’s schools have also fallen well behind, and much of the city’s infrastructure has not been upgraded or looked after properly in years.
In one case, a police officer had a gun held to his head during a gas station robbery. The officer managed to shoot and kill the robber but not before he was shot in his bullet proof vest.
Pine Bluff has become so dangerous that some police officers moved to the town in the hopes of winning an uphill battle against the rise in gangland activity.
To put Pine Bluff’s high crime rate into perspective, here is a list of American’s most dangerous cities and towns as ranked by the CQ Press:
1. Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn, Michigan
2. Pine Bluff, Arkansas
3. Flint, Michigan
4. Memphis, Tennessee/Mississippi/Arkansas
5. Stockton, California
6. New Orleans, Louisiana
7. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
8. Little Rock, Arkansas
9. Mobile, Alabama
10. Jackson, Tennessee
Here is a map that shows Pine Bluff’s location in comparison to Little Rock, Arkansas: