Stockton, California is filing for the largest bankruptcy of any U.S. city in history due to the decline in the once hot housing market and an intake of debt during its boom years.
The city has cut more than $90 million in spending over the past few years, specifically in its police department. The city has cut over one quarter of its police jobs, which has led to a “surge in murders,” and has created an “emboldened criminal element” in the city. According to police spokesman Joe Silva, the city has had 87 murders since the start of 2011, 29 of which have already occurred this year. In contrast, there were 35 murders in 2009 and 48 in 2010. With six months left in the year, there have already been more murders in the city since the start of 2011 than the two-year stretch of 2009-2010.
Further cuts to the police department would likely only worsen the issue, so filing for bankruptcy after already having cut 40 per cent of its city’s employees was the only option, according to Mayor Ann Johnston.
“We have hit the wall; we are insolvent,” said Mayor Ann Johnston. “Citizens will not be affected. We will still have police and fire departments and we will still operate and pay our bills to vendors.”
While the city still has police officers, the dramatic decrease in the department has certainly not helped the crime rate. It certainly seems like citizens have been affected.
According to Neighborhoodscout, which tracks the crime rate of every city in the United States, Stockton recorded a Crime Index rate of 2 out of 100. The index is based on a percentage, and it details that Stockton is safer than just 2 per cent of the cities in the United States.
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