Camden, New Jersey: One Of Hundreds Of U.S. Cities That Are Turning Into Rotting, Decaying Hellholes

Camden, New Jersey - Photo by Blake BolingerAll over America, formerly prosperous communities are being transformed into crime-infested wastelands of poverty and despair.  Of course the most famous example of this is Detroit.  At one time, Detroit was the greatest manufacturing city that the world had ever seen and it had the highest per capita income in the entire country.  But now it has become a rotting, decaying hellhole that the rest of the planet laughs at.  And of course Detroit is far from alone.  There are hundreds of other U.S. cities that are suffering a similar fate.  In this article, the focus is going to be on Camden, New Jersey, but the truth is that there are lots of other “Detroits” and “Camdens” all over the nation.  Jobs and businesses are leaving our cities at a staggering rate, and what is being left behind is poverty, crime and extreme desperation.

Earlier this month, Rolling Stone published an article that took a hard look at the nightmare conditions that exist in Camden.  A city that once made Campbell’s soup and some of this nation’s most famous warships is now a national disgrace.  The following are six of the best quotes out of that article…

-“In September, its last supermarket closed, and the city has been declared a “food desert” by the USDA. The place is literally dying, its population having plummeted from above 120,000 in the Fifties to less than 80,000 today.”

-“Their home is a city with thousands of abandoned houses but no money to demolish them, leaving whole blocks full of Ninth Ward-style wreckage to gather waste and rats.”

-“With legal business mostly gone, illegal business took hold. Those hundreds of industries have been replaced by about 175 open-air drug markets, through which some quarter of a billion dollars in dope moves every year.”

-“On January 18th, 2011, the city laid off 168 of its 368 police officers, kicking off a dramatic, years-long, cops-versus-locals, house-to-house battle over a few square miles of North American territory that should have been national news, but has not been, likely because it took place in an isolated black and Hispanic ghost town.”

-“After the 2011 layoffs, police went into almost total retreat. Drug dealers cheerfully gave interviews to local reporters while slinging in broad daylight.”

-“The carnage left Camden’s crime rate on par with places like Haiti after its 2010 earthquake, and with other infamous Third World hot spots, as police officials later noticed to their dismay when they studied U.N. statistics.”

You can read the rest of the article right here.  But as bad as things have become in Camden, this should not be a surprise to most of you.  The reality is that this kind of rot and decay is happening in communities all over the United States.

Over in Detroit, crime has gotten so bad that even the police are telling people to “enter Detroit at your own risk“.  When you call the police in Detroit it takes them an average of 58 minutes to respond, and more than 90 percent of the crimes committed in the city end up as unsolved mysteries.

At this point, 60 percent of all children in Detroit are living in poverty, and there are approximately 78,000 abandoned homes in the city.

For much more on all this, check out the statistics in this article, and you can find some great photos of the “ruins of Detroit” right here.

So why is all of this happening?

Well, there are lots of factors involved of course, but the biggest one is the lack of good jobs in these cities.

At one time, Detroit had the largest and most prosperous middle class in the entire nation.  But now those days are long gone.

And what is happening to Detroit is precisely what is happening to America as a whole.  Our good jobs are disappearing and the middle class is being systematically destroyed.

In order to have a middle class, you have got to have middle class jobs.

There is no way around that.

And right now, hordes of young people are graduating from college and discovering that the middle class jobs that they were promised simply are not there.

CNN recently profiled a 37-year-old college graduate named Bobby Bingham.  Because he cannot find a good job, he is forced to work four low paying jobs…

Bobby Bingham works four jobs in Kansas City, Missouri, yet he has very little to show for it.

Bingham is 37 years old and has a college degree, but like many Americans, is stuck working many hours in low wage, part-time jobs.

Each week, he works a total of about 60 hours in his jobs as a massage therapist, a waiter at a Mexican restaurant, a delivery man for sandwich chain Jimmy John’s and a receptionist at his massage school.

Bingham makes approximately $400 a week, which works out to about $20,000 a year.  He has come to the conclusion that he may never be able to make enough to support a family…

“I’ve come to the point in my life where I wonder if I can ever support a family,” he said. “I have no idea how that’s ever going to logically happen.”

That deeply saddened my heart when I read that.  Here is a young man that wants to get married, have a family and do all the right things, but the economy is so bad that he fears that this may never be possible for him.

As I have written about previously, the economic downturn that we are experiencing right now has hit men particularly hard.  The number of men in their prime working years that do not make enough money to support a family is rising with each passing year, and this is causing massive problems in this country.

And when our politicians proclaim that all we need is “more education”, I feel like vomiting.  The U.S. population as a whole has more “education” today than it ever has had before.

If you think that “more education” is the answer, then check out the following excerpt from a recent interview with a law school graduate that is making about $40,000 a year and that has about $200,000 in law school debt…

Yes, it’s extremely hard to get by. I can’t afford rent or a car and can barely afford food. Anything extra like enjoying myself with friends, going to a movie, traveling, etc. — that’s all out the window for the foreseeable future and possibly for the rest of my life thanks to law school. I live with my parents. I don’t have a car. I don’t go out to socialize. I don’t date. I don’t buy new clothes. I don’t buy electronics. I don’t buy much of anything. I spend my free time working other jobs to put more money toward my debt. I do contract work for other lawyers, but the pay is very low and payment is sporadic.

Why did this happen to him?  Well, the truth is that there are way, way too many law school graduates.  There are not nearly enough good jobs for all of them.  In fact, this particular law school graduate deeply regrets ever going to law school and considers it “an extraordinary waste of money”…

I consider law school a waste of my life and an extraordinary waste of money. I feel like I was duped and tricked. At the end of the day, it’s my own fault for being a sucker and I learned an extremely hard lesson. Because I went to law school, I don’t see myself having a family, earning a comfortable wage, or having an enjoyable lifestyle.

But at least he has a job.  There are millions of college graduates that do not.  And there are hundreds of thousands of other college graduates that are currently working as waiters and waitresses.  Large numbers are also working temp jobs or standing behind registers in retail stores.

Over the past decade, tens of thousands of businesses and millions of good jobs have left this country.  The quality of the jobs that remain continues to decline at a frightening pace, and most of the new jobs that are being “created” these days are part-time jobs.

But you won’t hear the mainstream media or our most prominent politicians talk about these things much.  You won’t hear them talk about the fact that median household income in the United States has fallen for five years in a row or about the fact that the rate of homeownership in the United States has fallen for eight years in a row.

The middle class is dying.

Wake up America.

And even as millions of our jobs have been shipped to the other side of the planet, some of the most prominent “American companies” have been bought up by foreigners.  The following list comes from a recent Economy In Crisis article

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Here are some of America’s most famous brands currently held in foreign hands:

  • Budweiser, now owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev N.V., which is based in Leuven, Belgium
  • Alka-Seltzer, now owned by German company Bayer Schering Pharma AG
  • Ben & Jerrys, now owned by British-Dutch Unilever
  • AMC theaters, now owned by the Chinese
  • 7-Eleven, now owned by the Japanese company, Seven & I Holdings
  • Woman’s Day Magazine, now owned by the French company,  Hachette Filipacchi Médias, S.A
  • Purina, now owned by the Swiss company, Nestle
  • Gerber, now owned by the Swiss pharmaceutical giant, Novartis
  • Firestone, now owned by the Japanese Bridgestone Corporation
  • Citgo, now owned by the government of Venezuela
  • French’s Mustard, now owned by Reckitt Benckiser, a British conglomerate
  • Frigidaire, now owned by Sweden’s AB Electrolux
  • The Plaza Hotel in New York City, now owned by Israeli billionaire Yitzhak Tshuva’s El-Ad Group
  • Trader Joes, now owned by German billionaires Karl and Theo Albrecht
  • Dial soap, now owned by Henkel KGaA, based in Dusseldorf, Germany
  • Sunglass Hut, now owned by Italian eyewear seller Luxottica Group

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Are you starting to get the picture?

Our economic infrastructure is being absolutely gutted and more than 46 million Americans are now living in poverty.

And if you are waiting for the jokers in Washington D.C. to fix things, you are going to be waiting for a very, very long time.

Over the past several years, both the Democrats and the Republicans have proven again and again that they are basically completely and totally useless.  In fact, just about everything that they try to do actually makes our problems even worse.

In just a few days, Barack Obama leaves for a 17 day holiday vacation in Hawaii.  Many have criticized him and the members of Congress for taking so much time off, but perhaps that is the best thing that they can do at this point.  As long as they are away from Washington D.C., at least they won’t be making things even worse for all the rest of us.

10 Signs That America Is Decomposing Right In Front Of Our Eyes

The decay of society is so much harder to quantify than economic decline is.  The government keeps lots of statistics on things like unemployment and inflation, but it really does not keep track of how sick and twisted people are becoming.  Most of us recognize that the character of the American people has changed dramatically over the decades, but unlike the national debt, you can’t easily point to a chart or a graph to show exactly how bad things are getting.  In this article, my approach will be to point you to various “signs” of social decay.  Signs tell us where we are at now and where we are headed.  Some of the signs that I will use will be statistics while others will simply consist of anecdotal evidence.  Yes, anecdotal evidence is not perfect, but when you put enough of it together it starts to paint a pretty clear picture of what is going on out there.  America is becoming a truly frightening place.  Our cities our decaying, thieves are becoming bolder, you never know who you can trust and everyone seems depressed.  America is decomposing right in front of our eyes, and it is time that we all admitted it.

In the old days, if you met a stranger out on the streets you knew that you could almost certainly trust that person.  But these days if you let your child wander one aisle over while you are shopping at Wal-Mart there is a chance that someone will try to abduct her.

Something has changed.

In our major cities, if you walk up to someone at random there is a decent chance that person will be a pervert or a sicko, and most Americans know that this is true at a gut level.  Almost everyone is very leery of “strangers” these days.  It has gotten to the point where we are all afraid of one another.

Just try this some time….

In a major U.S. city, walk right up to people on the street, look them in the eyes and try to introduce yourself.

What will happen when you do that?

In many instances, people will literally run away from you.

We are scared to death to interact with people that we do not know, and the reality is that those fears are way too often justified.

The character of the American people is decaying at a rapid pace, and the evidence of this is all around us.

The following are 10 signs that America is decomposing right in front of our eyes….

#1 As the economy crumbles, in many U.S. cities desperate people are increasingly resorting to violent acts in an attempt to survive.  So far this year, violent crime in Washington D.C. has risen by 40 percent.  Robberies at gunpoint have more than doubled compared to the same time period last year.

And as I wrote about recently, justifiable homicide in Detroit rose by a staggering 79 percent during 2011, and the rate of self-defense killings in Detroit is now 2200% above the national average.

#2 But it is not just in the cities where you will find crazies.  A recent Daily Mail article described a very disturbing incident which took place recently in North Dakota.  Two crack-fueled perverts abducted and murdered a 43-year-old math teacher named Sherry Arnold….

Spell and Waters had left Colorado days before the crime claiming they wanted work in eastern Montana and western North Dakota’s oil fields.

After smoking crack cocaine over the entire trip, Waters allegedly told Spell the drug ‘brought the devil out in him’ and began talking about kidnapping and killing a female, AP reports.

After they spotted Arnold, Spell claims that Waters told him to ‘grab the lady’ and pull her into their Ford Explorer as she jogged by.

After they got Arnold into the car, they choked her to death and then buried her body in a shallow grave in North Dakota.

Why would anyone do something like that?

#3 Unfortunately, sickos will even be found working for the government.  Just as so many of us feared, TSA workers are actually purposely selecting attractive women to go through the body scanners so that they can admire their naked bodies.  The following are actual quotations from official TSA complaints….

-“I feel I was targeted by the TSA employee to go through the see-you-naked machine because I am a semi-attractive female.”

-“The screener appeared to enjoy the process of picking someone rather than doing true random screening. I felt this was inappropriate. A woman behind me was also “randomly selected.”

-“TSA staff ‘trolling’ the lines looking for people to pull out was unprofessional.”

-“I know he went to that room to see my naked body through the machine with the other guy.”

-“When I looked around, I saw that there were only women that were “told” to go through this machine. There were no men.”

One woman was recently forced to go through the body scanner three times because the TSA workers wanted to get a really good look at her “cute figure“.

Isn’t about time that we admitted that the TSA is a massive failure?

#4 The American people seem more depressed than ever.  So are we the most depressed nation in the entire world?  The U.S. has the highest percentage of women taking antidepressants of any country in the world, and kids in the U.S. are three times more likely to be prescribed antidepressants than kids in Europe are.

#5 The gang problem in the United States has never been worse.  According to the FBI, the number of gang members in the United States has risen by 40 percent since 2009 and there are now a total of 1.4 million gang members living inside this country.

#6 Millions of other young people are not able to find jobs once they finish school and end up financially dependent on their parents.  Today, record numbers of young adults are living at home.  Many of these young people end up very disillusioned and very frustrated.  Right now, more than 30 percent of all Americans in the 18 to 34 age bracket are currently living at home with their parents.  That is not good news for the future of this country.

#7 All over America, criminals are becoming bolder and more desperate.  The following is a report about one serial home invader from the Washington Post….

A housekeeper was tied up and sexually assaulted and a mother and teenage son were tied up during a home invasion in Bethesda early Wednesday morning that Montgomery County police say involves the same suspect as in a home invasion Tuesday in Wheaton.

As the economy gets even worse, home invasions will become even more common.  You might want to learn how to defend yourself.

#8 These days thieves will steal literally anything.  Each night in cities all over the nation more street lights are going out as thieves strip the copper wiring right out of them. In the San Francisco area, one very ambitious group of thieves actually swiped a copper bell that weighs 2.7 tons.

#9 One of the clearest signs that America is decomposing is the stunning decline of major cities such as Detroit.  In response to my recent article about the death of Detroit, a reader identified as Bill posted the following….

Seeing what is happening to Detroit makes me want to cry AND scream.

I’m a native Detroiter myself – born in Harper Hospital on the east side & was one of those 2 million plus counted in the 1950 Census. I left Detroit in the early 70s for work reasons and had not gone back there since 1984.

When I drove through there on my way to Port Huron last September I “made a lap” around the city – got off I-75 downtown, made a loop around the downtown area (the 2 new stadiums look nice as does the RenCen) then went out Michigan Avenue to 12th and up through the 1967 Riot area to Grand River and out to the northwestern part of town where I grew up and went to school.

What a depressing trip. All my old haunts are gone, boarded up or burnt to the ground. The car dealer where I bought my first car (the old “Redford Rambler” on Grand River just west of Evergreen) is nothing but a slab. All the car dealers along the Grand River strip from Evergreen to McNicoles (6 Mile Rd.) are gone, the 16th Precinct Police Station at GR & Mc Nicholes is abandoned and the high school where my cousin graduated is all boarded up (Redford High School, across Grand River from the old police station). My old house on Lasher just north of Grand River is there but the stores in the area are all gone. One would think space aliens had come and taken all the life out of the area.

On that same article, another reader identified as “Disappointed” shared his thoughts on the decline of that once great city….

I worked in Detroit for a few years a while back. I was fascinated by the crumbling ruins, drove around to see a lot of them after work (a couple of times I drove through neighborhoods that I can tell you now I would not go near, even in the daytime). It was sad and fascinating at the same time. I would not even THINK of doing that now, it would be highly dangerous. I would not even work in Detroit now.

#10 But it isn’t just Detroit that is falling apart.  This kind of thing is happening all over the country.  A reader identified as Golden Child recently left the following comment on my website….

Much of America is like Detroit. America is rotting from California to West Virginia to Baltimore. It’s the same song across the United States. High unemployment, falling rent and or house prices, massive police lay-offs, giant spikes in crime accompanied by a rising cost of living and fewer job opportunities. Vallejo and Oakland, California are very much like Detroit. Vallejo ranked as the ninth most miserable city in America according to Forbes. Oakland and Vallejo have laid off nearly half of their police forces. You can get an apartment in Vallejo or Oakland for $200-600 a month although the median monthly rent in California is well over a thousand dollars with Bay Area rent being generally higher. There is a reason why rent is so comparably dirt cheap in those cities. San Francisco-Oakland-Vallejo collectively make up the car-theft capital of the United States. Northern CA cities like Oakland, Richmond and Stockton are regulars on the top ten most dangerous cities in America list. Baltimore, MD is also very much like Detroit with its thousands of abandoned rowhomes, high concentration of Black poverty, drugs and violence. Camden, NJ, East St. Louis, Gary Indiana are all no different from the D. Even large sections of wealthy world class cities like DC, NYC and San Francisco are impoverished quasi-third world hellholes. Southeast DC has the highest unemployment rate of anywhere in America despite the fact that DC is the richest city and metro in America. NYC has the widest income inequality gap of any metro area. Massive swaths of NYC are dangerous towering project buildings packed with working poor minorities. SF is home to some of the most sub-standard public housing in America in neighborhoods like Hunter’s Point, Sunnydale and Potrero Hill. America has been rotting from the core since at least the 70′s.

Sadly, this is just the beginning.

As the economic decline of this nation accelerates, people are going to become much more desperate.

And desperate people do desperate things.

So where do all of you think America is headed?  Please feel free to post a comment with your opinion below….

***EPILOGUE***

I wanted to post a couple of new comments from the readers.  These are more firsthand examples of what life is like on the streets of America today….

—Comment By “Bean”—

This evening I had to pick my daughter up from work,a fast food restaurant in the heart of downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana. My daughter came out later than expected so I had to sit in the car for about forty minutes waiting. While waiting a man walked up to my car and reached for the door handle, thankfully I had the doors locked, he started tapping on the window, I drove off went around the block and parked again to wait for my daughter. A little while later an elderly man with a cane, who appeared to be homeless, shuffled along the sidewalk, he saw me sitting in the car and he came up and tapped on the window, fortunately at that moment my daughter came out of work so I pulled up and picked her up and we got out of town. It was creepy, this was downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana, a city with a population of around 300,000, I was shocked! I do not want my daughter coming out of work at night into this kind of environment, I will be contacting the owner of the business to let them know that it is not a safe environment for young people to have to walk to their cars after dark.

—Comment By Madsr—

My wife and I were discussing this exact thing. A young girl in our quiet Arkansas town met a local guy off the internet she ended up dead on his family farm in a 55 gal drum…..Who does this? We live in a town of 4000 where we all know each other, a man walked into a little shop 3 weeks ago and raped the woman behind the counter. My wife and I consider where we live very safe compared to most of America. Yet we never go anywhere that we are not both carrying a pistol. That is what is so different between todays depression and the great depression. Most people would not hurt or kill you for food or goods. They were more apt to suffer quietly or sneak and get a chicken. It is just the opposite today they are being told everyday they are owed food and goods. The only reason they don’t have them is because the rich have it all, so you should take it from them. I guess that makes most of us that have worked 60 hours a week for the last 25 or 30 years the rich evil people. This is not going to get better regardless of the President both sides have supported the moral decay. God help us!

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