Forget Detroit’s reputation as a tough town to live in — the Motor City is now earning notoriety as a bad place to rest in peace.
Detroit’s descent into poverty and crime, and its corresponding population decline, has led to an exodus of both the living and the dead as families move their dearly departed to greener pastures, The Detroit News reported Tuesday.
For every 30 living people to flee Detroit, one dead human being leaves, too, according to statistics obtained by the Detroit News.
Dr. Stephen Vogel, dean of architecture at the University of Detroit Mercy, told the paper that the number of disinterments is much higher than records show. According to his 2005 study of 28 Detroit cemeteries, about 400 to 500 disinterments take place each year.
"What it says to me is that there is a deeply ingrained fear on the part of suburbanites in terms of their attitude toward the city and its hold is very powerful and very deep," Vogel told the Detroit News. "When they're afraid to cross Eight Mile to visit a cemetery, it tells you what we're up against and any solutions are not going to be easy."
Fran Palazzolo, who paid about $5,000 to have her grandparents exhumed to a new final resting place in the suburbs, admitted that fear factored into her decision. "Have you been to Detroit? I pray the car doesn't break down,” she told The Detroit News. “I'm worried for my life. There's a lot of bad people in Detroit.”