The Most Dangerous State, Tourism, and The Broken Window Theory

We have all seen in the news recently that Tennessee has just been named “The Most Dangerous State” in the United States by the FBI’s statistic research. My home state had the nation’s highest violent crime rate last year! Most of us were shocked by this new information. According to the FBI, the research was based on violent crime being murders, rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults.

With major cities like Detroit, New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, I didn’t really see Tennessee as being more dangerous than any other state with these cities that are known for having a lot of crime. However, many people do think of Memphis as the crime capital. This is because Memphis’ violent crime rate is the fifth worse in the nation. Nashville is also the 18th worst, which I was shocked by. These two cities combined with the poverty rate, and low education level of our state made us skyrocket to number one on the list.

How can we stop violent crime in our city and in our state?
In my opinion, we have to start with the doing something about the poverty rate and education. In class we discussed how our city is investing in sports, businesses, and the development of downtown and the river for tourism rather than investing in education and low-income citizens. I think that our culture can speak for itself. While most of us don’t understand why people would want to vacation here, there are many reasons for people to want to see the Home of the Blues such as: our National Civil Rights Museum, The Memphis Zoo, Graceland, Sun Studio, Stax Museum, Beale Street, The Pink Palace, world-famous restaurants and much more. The problem with our tourism is that we have so much crime that it scares people away. We also discussed the “broken window theory” that most definitely has a huge impact on why people do not want to come visit Memphis.

It is almost like there is a vicious circle around our need for tourism and the money it brings in and spending money on tourists rather than using it for our school systems and low-income citizens. While we are spending money to make the city look better to outsiders, we are neglecting putting money into the low-income citizens and the education systems. This results in our high poverty rates and a lower standard of living. Outsiders and then taken back by the “broken window theory” by seeing our city as a place with too much crime. To them, Memphis is too “scary” or there is too much violence to even consider visiting; therefore we cannot gain as much income from tourists.

While the “broken window theory” steers most people away, I love the character of cities and buildings that aren’t all brand new, shiny, and polished. I love to explore old, abandoned buildings and downtown Memphis is the place to do so. The Sterick Building, which has been empty since 1980, is Memphis’ tallest building and I had the opportunity to explore it as well as get on the rooftop. The view is unbelievably beautiful and something that I will never forget. It made me appreciate our city more and see it for the amazing place that it is! Sometimes the run down places are the most interesting to see. Memphis isn’t a place to go see fancy, expensive buildings; it’s a place to explore and learn about southern history and culture.

Side Note: If you want to read more about the most dangerous states in the U.S. and see the other states in the Top 10, here is the link:

7 thoughts on “The Most Dangerous State, Tourism, and The Broken Window Theory

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