I’m guessing that most have already read this:

http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200807/memphis-crime

There’s been an academic response from city-planner folks.

http://www.shelterforce.org/article/special/1043/P0/

In a nutshell, “some” (academics) say sending the project folks out into the community hasn’t really proven beyond a reasonable doubt to be behind our crime explosion. Well, ok. As a skeptic, litereally a member of the JREF, I agree that big claims need big evidence to support them if they’re not to be dismissed.

But on a personal level, the good scientific evidence one way or another does not exist yet, and this hypothesis lines up with my anecdotal experience. It was around 2003 that my next door neighbor told me that gangs were growing in this neighborhood ( a few streets north-east of Summer and Tillman) because former project folks were moving in here. And now, in 2009, the prevalence of gang membership for kids ages 13-18 is around 100% here.

And this is a working/middle class neighborhood. Where there are some single moms working one or 2 jobs, or generally 2 parents working one full time job each. ( I, being white, get to enjoy the label of “stay at home mom”, aka “homemaker” etc instead of “unemployed”). NOBODY has ever seen this degree of gang activity before. This is NEW. This is NEW for Memphis’ black working/middle class. Parents are being taken off guard. Something powerful changed here around 2002-2005.

I, personally, think Janikowski is right. I live “here” and I can see it. I watched it happen, and I talked with neighbors as it happened. Everyone who has lived here  a bit north of between Summer and Tillman and Summer and Highland says the same thing;  closing down the projects was bad for us. Reality just sucks sometimes.

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