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Originally Answered: What is the worst city in America?
That is a very subjective question at this level of generality. I would speculate that you are talking about places with terribly corrupt governments, terribly trained and/or racist police departments, collapsing economies, or collapsing social infrastructures.
Among the larger American cities, likely candidates are:
Detroit, which is suffering from economic collapse and a state government that seems to want to destroy it out of sheer spite—the government of Michigan is dominated by corrupt corporatist republicans who despise the state’s old industrial cities because they are mostly democratic, mostly old union strongholds, and mostly minority.
East St. Louis, which is impoverished and has been abandoned in its poverty by the governments of Illinois and Missouri.
New Orleans, which has infamously corrupt local and state governments and is slowly sinking into the Gulf of Mexico.
Miami, which has severe ethnic divisions, a state government run by an embedded class of white collar criminals, and is slowly being swallowed by the Atlantic Ocean.
Baltimore, which has little economic hope, an inept and corrupt city government, and a police department that treats its citizens like a hostile occupying army and is bigger menace to public safety than Baltimore’s infamous drug gangs.
Washington, DC, which has an infamously corrupt government, no economic base, and is treated by the congress as its personal property. The republican majority in the house and senate have both made it clear that they will allow no local sovereignty for the national capital as long as its citizens are mostly democrats. Once or twice per year they use the city for partisan political gestures, like preventing it from passing its own firearms regulations.
There are worse small cities, too many to mention.
Ferguson, Missouri, as an example, like a number of declining suburbs in the rust belt, is run by a clique of white businessmen who cut the police department budget to the bone and obliged the police to harass the population for funds. Literally, a third of the city’s budget comes a constant flow of minor citations, the courts pile on more fees if the poorer citizens don’t pay immediately or just don’t have the cash, and the average resident has a standing burden of several hundred dollars in jaywalking tickets and similar. Essentially, the police department finances itself like a mafia protection racket, using its power to bully and abuse the lower-income residents into making payments to prevent further payments and abuse.
There are also at least two cities I know of—one Chicago suburb and one Los Angeles suburb, that have been taken over as virtual private estates by crooked businessmen. Each has a few thousand low-income inhabitants in poor housing with no political power, while the rest of the city property is held by industrial corporations, hotels, and convention centers who pay almost no taxes.
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