Situated 60 miles north of Detroit, Flint was a Michigan boomtown and the birthplace of GM more than 100 years ago. In the 1980’s GM famously shuttered the Fisher 1 Body Plant, ripping out the heart of Buick City, and sending 80,000 people to the unemployment line overnight. Those who could leave did, and those who stayed struggled to make ends meet, living hand-to-mouth as the city crumbled around them.
In its Heyday, the Flint Police Department had 300 sworn police officers and 20 partnered cars rolling every shift in a city of 200,000 citizens. By 2010, Flint had 88 sworn officers, five of whom were rolling alone each shift, desperately trying to police a city of 100,000 angry and distrustful citizens. Crime exploded. 15 murders a year became 50. 20 forcible rapes became 100. Once known as “Vehicle City”, Flint earned a new title: “Murdertown, USA”.
And then we poisoned the water.