Flint is the most dangerous city in America - but it has nothing to do with the water crisis

Flint has ranked as one of America's most dangerous cities for several years 

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The Independent US

As it battles to clean-up a water supply that has been linked to the deaths of at least 10 people and declared a federal emergency, it should come as no surprise to learn that Flint is considered one of the most dangerous city in America.

But while the US Environmental Protection Agency recently compared Flint’s water supply to toxic waste, it is actually the city’s sky-high violent crime and sexual assault rate that makes it so unsafe.

In 2012 Forbes listed Flint as sixth on its list of the most dangerous places in America for women. 

The magazine said that in April of that year at least 60 young women were treated by the Wayne County Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners Program. 

In similar clinics in the areas surrounding Flint that number was in the hundreds.

The following year Business Insider declared Flint America’s most dangerous city, citing the FBI’S 2012 unified crime report. The report revealed Flint had an incredible 62 murders per 100,000 people, 106 forcible rapes per 100,000 people and 662 robberies per 100,000 people.

It has since slipped down the list to the third most dangerous city in the US, although 2015 reportedly saw its murder rate spike again following several years of decline.

Michigan National Guard Staff Sergeant Steve Kiger of Beaverton, Michigan, helps a Flint, Michigan resident take bottled water out to his car

One reason for the high crime rate is abject poverty throughout the city – something that has compounded problems for residents amid claims they are still being charged up to $200 a month for their contaminated water supply.

Between the 1930s and 1970s, Flint had a booming motor industry – part of the spill-out from General Motors’ operations in nearby Detroit.

But GM started laying people off in the 1980s as it looked to build new factories outside the US and unemployment has grown steadily since, with roughly half of residents over 16 now out of work.

Those who can afford to have steadily left Flint over the past 30 years, leaving behind a desperately poor local population where more than 41% live below the poverty line, according to the US census.

The steadily declining population meant that by 2012 there were just 122 police officers for population of 90,000, according to MLive.com, which has only added to its crime problem.