Why Is Memphis the New South Bronx?

Demolition of low-income housing has only redistributed the problem
By Paul Stinson,  Newser User
Posted Jun 29, 2008 4:00 PM CDT
MEMPHIS, TN: A couple hold hands on Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee. Beale St. is the entertainment hub of Memphis.    (Carlo Allegri/Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Despite a flattened national crime rate in large cities, Memphis was recently dubbed the nation's leader in violent crime, prompting Atlantic Monthly to ask: “Why has Elvis’s hometown turned into America’s new South Bronx?" Local experts offer an unsettling answer: demolition of low-income housing projects isn’t eradicating crime and poverty by giving residents a fresh start—it’s just decentralizing and relocating the problem.  

High-tech policing initiatives such as ‘cops on the dots’ are helping dent crime figures by plotting, tracking, and responding to erupting urban problems on real-time residential maps. But one Memphis academic says that any solution must also include antipoverty measures such as providing health clinics, child care, and job training that crumbled alongside the neighborhoods receiving the wrecking-ball.