WELL, SO MUCH for the idyllic memories of our youth. FBI statistics prove that our once-glorious hometown of Kalamazoo, Mich., (as the T-shirt said: "There's nothin' to do in Kalamazoo") is a more crime-prone place in which to live than -- wait for it -- New York.
Admittedly, we haven't set foot in Kalamazoo since 1995, but still -- what the hell happened to the place? It's Kalamazoo, in God-fearing and traditionalist western Michigan. It's the Celery City, famed for its muck fields. It's the Bedding Plant Capital of the World. It's not supposed to be a haven for degeneracy and criminality. Yet the statistics do not lie, as a selection of them shows:
New York, 7.75m; Kalamazoo, 76,000.
VIOLENT CRIME RATE per 100,000 citizens:
New York, 977.8; Kalamazoo, 1,066.5. (+9 pc)
PROPERTY CRIME RATE:
New York, 2,744.8; Kalamazoo, 6,780.6 (+147 pc)
New York, 527.7; Kalamazoo, 683.4 (+30 pc)
New York, 479.1; Kalamazoo, 1,567.6 (+227 pc)
New York, 1,802.9; Kalamazoo, 4,576.8 (+154 pc)
About the only crime in which New York is more dangerous than Kalamazoo is robbery: there is considerably less on a per-capita basis back home. Michigan law allows people to pack concealed firearms, so it could be robbers are a bit more shy about conducting their trade. Then again, perhaps there's just less opportunity for robbery.
We also compared Kalamazoo with our present city of residence: Manchester, N.H. We refuse to publish the comparison data because it is downright embarrassing. Plus, our hometown's outright criminality might cause people at work to start avoiding us in the parking lot. ("How do we know Kepple's not a thief? I've got FILE FOLDERS to protect!")
Again, we must ask: what the hell happened?
We mean, this is Kalamazoo-fricking-Michigan we're discussing. When did it become such a cesspit?
We remember one big crime during our time in Kalamazoo: a rather nasty domestic murder several blocks away in a different subdivision. More typical was the time a neighbor discovered a prowler casing her home, and that prompted such an overwhelming police response we can only assume that nothing else was going on that night in our section of town. Oh, and one time a neighbor boy got knocked over the head for his Halloween candy.
That's three incidents in all of fifteen years. Yet apparently things are so bad that one would think twice about moving to the place. Even with our native's perspective, we certainly would. After all, it's one thing if there's nothin' to do, and another entirely if one gets mugged while doing it.Posted by Benjamin Kepple at November 9, 2004 09:13 PM | TrackBack