**"War Zone: The Destruction of an All-American City" will re-air on Channel 4 Saturday at 7 p.m.**
(News 4 Investigates) -- War Zone is an hour-long documentary investigating the impact of corruption on East St. Louis, an All-American city just a half-century ago. Our investigation also examines issues involving Alorton and Washington Park, two nearby villages.
Steve Wiggington, the United States Attorney for the southern district of Illinois, believes the East St. Louis area is "America's war zone." It certainly has had many of the characteristics of a war torn community; widespread deadly violence, economic hardship, living conditions that are often unsafe, and corruption that created many of the problems facing the community, and make it far more difficult to recover as a community.
In many ways, East St. Louis and the poor villages surrounding it, represent the greatest challenge facing the St. Louis region. Can we really reach our full potential as a region if so much of the metro-east urban core remains one of the most violent and poor communities in the country? I would argue that the answer is no.
There are some recent developments that will help. Federal agents and state police have been working with local cops and the partnership is having a significant impact on crime, according to East St. Louis Police Chief Michael Floore. In addition, St. Clair County has taken over the administration of demolition work in East St. Louis and Washington Park, two communities overwhelmed by the number of abandoned houses there. And, Sen. Dick Durbin recently announced more security will be provided to some of the public housing complexes in East St. Louis. Durbin has been critical of the federal government for not providing adequate security at those complexes.
In our documentary, I promised to provide links to the Christian Activity Center and other organizations doing wonderful work in the East St. Louis area. If you would like to add non-profits to this list please let me know, and we'll include them, too.