Following the riots of this spring, Baltimore has found itself a city on the edge. In fact, Baltimore has now surpassed New York City in homicides for the year.
Justin Fenton of the Baltimore Sun:
Baltimore has surpassed New York City in homicides
Baltimore has surpassed New York City for homicides this year.
A New York Police spokeswoman said the city had seen 208 homicides as of Wednesday. Baltimore recorded its 213th homicide Wednesday night.
It’s a seemingly impossible milestone — New York has more than 8.4 million people, Baltimore just 620,000.
New York peaked with 2,245 homicides in 1990, but that number has been tumbling and hit a historic low in 2014, with 328.
Baltimore saw a peak of 353 killings in1993, and recorded 211 homicides in 2014.
Baltimore surpasses the number of murders for all of last year, with more than four months to go. The dubious distinction comes as the mayor faces growing public criticism. Mike Hellgren reports.
Adjusted for population, Baltimore’s murder rate through Aug. 19 is 34 per 100,000 people, while New York’s is so far this year 2.5 per 100,000. If New York had Baltimore’s murder rate, it would have seen 2,874 killings already this year.

Another article by the same writer assigns blame to the riots for the situation:
“Ever since that riot, everything has gone downhill,” said Wesley Wilson, 48, as he looked on at the crime scene. He passes through the area every day to visit his neighborhood bar, he said, adding that it is typically a quiet area.

City crime has surged since the April riots that followed the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, who sustained a spinal injury while in police custody.
Here’s a short segment on a recent homicide from ABC 2 in Baltimore. You can see from the reportage that this has become routine:

People should be able to defend themselves in such situations. Detroit has faced similar crime problems, but recently, the city has been responding by arming citizens.
Perry Chiaramonte of FOX News reports:
Packing heat in Detroit: Motown residents answer police chief’s call to arms
In a city plagued by chronic unemployment and crime and guarded by a dwindling police force, residents of Detroit are increasingly taking protection of themselves, their families and property into their own hands. Those who do so responsibly have the blessing and backing of Detroit Police Chief James Craig.
“When you look at the city of Detroit, we’re kind of leading the way in terms of urban areas with law-abiding citizens carrying guns,” Craig said recently.
The chief’s call to arms, which first came in December, 2013, has been answered by thousands of men and women tired of being victims and eager to reclaim their beleaguered city. In 2014, some new 1,169 handgun permits were issued, while 8,102 guns were registered with Detroit’s police department – many to prior permit holders who bought new firearms. So for in 2015, nearly 500 permits have issued by the department and more than 5,000 guns have been registered.
The initiative is working, too:
“Home invasions have gone down,” he said. “A huge reason was that there was a huge spate of homeowners using their guns against intruders. More people have guns and it’s making burglars cautious.”
The firearms instructor said women are driving growth in his business.

'If the internet goes down, half the planet will come to a standstill': why 'preppers' will be the last ones standing

These days the world is a scary place to live in.
If there's not an asteroid on its way to obliterate us or terrorists plotting our imminent downfall, there's the dangers of giant online data hacks or complete economic collapse.
But when the end does arrive, there are a few people who aren't just able to cope with the apocalypse - they've been actively preparing for it.
These people call themselves 'preppers' or 'survivalists' and they belong to a vast underground community. When the ATMs stop running or the internet goes down, they'll be the ones that make it out alive.
"Its a huge community, especially in the States. But in the UK it's becoming more and more recognised," explained Steve Hart, the man behind the UK's top prepping website:

"Prepping itself is just another form of insurance. People have life, car or pet insurance for the "what ifs" - this is just looking at a "what if" from a slightly different perspective.
"What if a serious earthquake hits? Or a tsunami or a volcano or even a bio-terrorism attack," said Steve, whose website racks up around 100,000 hits a month.
Admittedly, those situations are a little unlikely - but 59-year-old Steve sets us straight pretty quickly.
"What if the government starts acting up? That's the number one fear among most preppers: economic collapse.
"The next thing you know the whole world is plummeting down to a position you can't get out of."
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And technology?
Preppers homepage
Steve Hart's Preppers' website is the largest survivalism website in the UK

"If anything to do with the internet goes down, half the planet will come to a standstill," Steve told Mirror Online, citing the fact that we work, bank and socialise online in the 21st century. "99% of your life relies on technology."
He recognises that many of these apocalyptic scenarios won't come to pass, but calmly suggests it's better to be safe than sorry.
Some of the hallmarks of prepping involve keeping stockpiles of food in your house - enough to last a week or so if the power goes out - and learning survival skills for how to cope in the natural world.

Top tips to start prepping

  • Keep at least a week's worth of food in your house. Tinned foods are best
  • When it comes to vehicles, anything built pre-1980 is a better choice. It will be easier to repair in the event of an emergency because it's mechanical rather than technological
  • Get hold of the basics: A good sleeping bag, water filtration tablets and a decent knife
He also suggests limiting your reliance on technology, filling up a couple of spare jerrycans with petrol and learning how to filtrate water. Seasons can also play a part - if it's cold, how are you going to heat your house?
Steve Hart
Steve Hart is a master prepper, and a guy who knows what to do when things go bad

"Go home and try it," Steve said.
"Halfway through cooking tea, turn of all your electrics. Try it for an hour. Or a week, and see how you get on. Have you got anything in the house that will let you keep on living without power?"
Prepping may be an underground community in the UK at the moment but, ironically, a few minutes on the internet will help those interested in learning more find out where to go.
The end of the world may not be around the corner, but there's no harm in being a little prepared.