By: Matt Meyle – Collegiate Staff
The city of Flint, Michigan has seen the national spotlight in recent years for all the wrong reasons. The Flint Water Crisis has claimed top headlines since 2014 simply due to the severity of the contamination of lead in the entire city’s water supply. However, Flint has had a whole slew of issues leading up to the water crisis.
Flint has consistently been one of the most dangerous places to live, not only in Michigan, but in the entire United States. According to Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Publications from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which show the number of violent crimes in each city. Flint had 2,729 violent crimes per 100,000 population in 2011, and has become a perennial statistical leader. A statistic that no city wants to be number one in.
The city has been in turmoil for years, ranking in the top five cities nationally for violent crimes since the 2008 recession. Flint topped the list from 2010 to 2012 as the most dangerous place to live, statistically, in America.
Netflix has announced an original documentary series surrounding the Flint Police Department and their daily struggles to keep a dying city from completely bleeding out.
“Flint Town” was released on Netflix on March 2, featuring multiple episodes detailing the tragedy covering the streets, as well as the heroic attempts to defend the broken people of Flint.
Once a city of nearly 200,000 residents, many of which were part of the middle class and contributed to the boom in the auto industry, Flint has cut its population in half over the last 50 years. Less than 100,000 people remain within the decaying community. Those who had the means to move away did exactly that. Unfortunately, many residents were stuck in a dying city with no way out. However for those who stayed, violence and bloodshed helped contribute to the steady population decrease.
Safety is as foreign as clean water is for the people living in Flint. Since 2008, the police force has also reduced itself to half the size. The department previously had over 200 officers, and in less than 10 years time only 98 remain.
The police force currently has one officer for every 1,000 civilians. In 2008, the department had 265 officers to protect its’ 117,068 residents, or 2.26 officers per 1,000 civilians. The task of serving and protecting for these officers is monumental in comparison to the manpower behind enforcing the law.
The documentary series was co-directed by Zackary Canepari, Drea Cooper, and Jessica Dimmock. Canepari and Cooper began working together on similar projects in 2009, but this is their first time partnering with Netflix.
The trailer for “Flint Town” was released Feb. 21 and has been spreading around social media platforms quickly. The preview gives the viewer a snippet of hardships that the people of Flint face constantly, as well as the impossible task of policing a city that doesn’t even want the police.
The series will emphasize the relationships between the Flint Police Department and the people living amongst the violence, but it will also provide significant, real-life, footage of the everyday racism, social injustices and economic trials of a city that seems like it would rather be ignored by the rest of the nation.