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U.S. Crisis Report 2023

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This page provides an overview of crisis situations in the United States. For world news, read the “Countries in Crisis 2023” report.

News reports below are listed in chronological order with headings showing the source and date. Topics include widespread fraud, smash-and-grab organized retail crime, regions of drought, catastrophic floods, homelessness, tornados, gun violence, social unrest, food deserts, limited access to healthcare, teacher shortages, hospital closings, widespread poverty, toxic spills, and other news.

The purpose of this page is to equip those working in the public interest with information needed to triage and allocate resources for the greatest possible positive impact.

This page is not aligned to a particular narrative or political viewpoint. A variety of viewpoints are presented here.


PBS NewsHour (16 Jul 2023)

“As wildfire smoke spreads, millions of Americans lack access to respiratory care” — Smoke from the record-setting Canadian wildfires is again making the air hazardous to breathe this weekend across the Northern Plains and upper Midwest. As the smoke triggers breathing problems for many, it also highlights the fact that more than 5 million Americans don’t have easy access to a respiratory specialist. John Yang reports. [Source]

CBS News (26 Apr 2023)

“Hail, tornadoes, flooding expected across southern U.S.” — A severe weather system is stretching across the southern U.S. from Texas to the Gulf Coast and Florida. The storms are expected to bring hail, strong winds, tornadoes and flash flooding. CBS News correspondent Omar Villafranca has the latest from Texas. [Source]

NBC News (26 Apr 2023)

“Mississippi river flooding reaches historic levels, swallowing neighborhoods” — Up and down the Mississippi River, rising waters are swallowing entire neighborhoods and reaching what experts call “major flood stage” in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. NBC News’ Maggie Vespa has the latest updates as the historic flooding worsens. [Source]

“California bracing for severe flooding from snowpack melt” — As temperatures rise in California, residents are bracing for severe flooding due to the massive Sierra Mountains snowpack melt. It contains twice as much water as the state’s 28 major reservoirs. NBC News’ Steve Patterson has more details on the climate crisis. [Source]

ABC News (23 Apr 2023)

“The urgent search for solutions on the spreading water crisis” — ABC News’ Linsey Davis and ABC’s Chief Meteorologist Ginger Zee search for the solution to the planet’s water crisis. [Source]

MSNBC (23 Apr 2023)

“NYT: White House, federal agencies ignored warnings of migrant child labor” — A new bombshell from The New York Times is shedding light on the dire situation facing some migrant children in the U.S. and the systemic failure that allowed it. According to the report, the White House and federal agencies were repeatedly alerted to signs of migrant children being exploited for their labor, but those warnings were ignored or missed. MSNBC’S Alicia Menendez is joined by Hannah Dreier, the investigative reporter behind the story, Investigative Reporter for the New York Times, to discuss how these children end up working dangerous jobs, and what needs to be done to better protect them. [Source]

ABC News (22 Apr 2023)

“Water troubles in rural Louisiana, deepen infrastructure crisis” — Some rural communities struggle with poorly designed and old water systems that are falling apart. Repairs are decades delayed and costly. [Source]

CBS News (20 Apr 2023)

“More than one-third of Americans live in places with unhealthy pollution levels” — A new report from the American Lung Association revealed 119.6 million Americans live in places with failing grades for unhealthy levels of pollution. American Lung Association national senior director of policy Katherine Pruitt joined CBS News’ Vladimir Duthiers and Anne-Marie Green to discuss the report, who is affected the most, and what states can do to cut down on emissions. [Source]

CNBC (20 Apr 2023)

“Freight Trains Keep Derailing. Why?” — A string of train derailments have captured the attention of lawmakers in Washington. Corporations within the freight industry have redesigned their businesses to maximize efficiency. But a panel of experts gathered by CNBC argue that some of the strategic changes may compromise public safety. Some of these strategic corporate decisions may have been involved in a now infamous February 2023 crash on the Ohio-Pennsylvania border, according to regulatory complaints. [Source]

MSNBC (18 Apr 2023)

“Migrant children exploited for labor in every state, government ignored warnings” — “I found children in every state… who are working dangerous, illegal, exploitative jobs.” New York Times investigative reporter Hannah Dreier speaks about her investigation into how the White House and federal agencies were allegedly warned about migrant children at risk, and ignored or missed the signs. [Source]

PBS NewsHour (18 Apr 2023)

“Federal officials scrutinized for ignoring warnings as migrant children were put to work” — In February, a New York Times investigation exposed how thousands of migrant children are working in jobs across the country in violation of child labor laws. The Times now reports that the Biden administration was made aware of the risks facing these children as it relaxed vetting procedures to get them out of overwhelmed shelters quickly. Stephanie Sy discussed the report with Hannah Dreier. [Source]

ABC 7 Chicago (17 Apr 2023)

“2 shot, 1 fatally, trying to flee carjacking attempt in Chicago” — Chicago police said a man was killed and woman injured in a shooting during a carjacking attempt in the Bronzeville neighborhood Monday morning. [Source]

CBS Chicago (17 Apr 2023)

“Former CPD Deputy Superintendent says Loop crowds are getting out of hand” — [Source]

“Police investigate Forest Park gas station fight ending in car crash” — It happened Sunday in Forest Park, a woman nearly mows down several people before causing a serious crash. CBS 2’s Andrew Ramos has new details along with video you will see Only on 2. [Source]

Fox 32 Chicago (17 Apr 2023)

“‘Where are their parents?’ Teens swarm downtown Chicago during violent, chaotic weekend” — There was chaos on the streets of Chicago over the weekend with large groups of teenagers gathering downtown, smashing cars and blocking traffic. [Source]

“Chicago leaders react to weekend chaos downtown: ‘This is what happens'” — City leaders reacted on Monday after hundreds of teens caused chaos in the Loop over the weekend. [Source]

KHOU 11 (17 Apr 2023)

“2nd teen charged in deadly FBI raid at north Houston motel” — The suspects are accused of kidnapping migrants and holding them for ransom. An accomplice was killed in the raid. [Source]

NBC Chicago (17 Apr 2023)

“2 Shot, Chicago Police Respond to Downtown as Hundreds Gathered Late Saturday” — NBC 5’s Jen DeSalvo has more on the response after hundreds of teens gathered in downtown Chicago Saturday night. [Source]

NBC News (17 Apr 2023)

“Chemical exposure concerns growing across U.S.” — Concerns about toxic chemical exposure are growing across the country following several incidents, including the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio and the plastics fire in Richmond, Indiana. NBC News’ Tom Costello shares more on the EPA’s findings. [Source]

PBS NewsHour (17 Apr 2023)

“Four dead, 15 more wounded in shooting at birthday party in small Alabama town” — A spate of weekend gun violence left more American families grieving. In Dadeville, Alabama, a gunman killed four people at a birthday party and in Louisville, Kentucky, two people died when someone fired into a crowd at a public park. Anger also grew over a recent shooting in Kansas City, Missouri where a Black teen was shot after showing up at the wrong house. [Source]

WXYZ Detroit (17 Apr 2023)

“At least 10 shot, 5 dead over the weekend in Detroit” — Between Friday night and early Monday morning, Detroit police say they have investigated at least 10 shootings in Detroit. 5 of those shootings were deadly forcing the Detroit Police to take some serious measures to try and curb the violence. One of those shootings took place Friday at Randolph and Mornore. One person was killed and three others were shot, police say. According to DPD, the shooting broke out after someone threw a drink during an altercation. Steve Dolunt, the former Assistant Detroit Police Chief said the weekend violence made him furious. “White must be losing his mind because he’s doing everything you’re supposed to do. They’re doing everything right,” Dolunt said. [Source]

Additional News Report: “3 people shot and 1 dead in Downtown Detroit because someone ‘threw a drink'” — [Video Available on YouTube]

ABC NEWS (16 Apr 2023)

“EPA air monitors in Indiana detects toxic chemicals” — Officials said they are continuing to test and analyze samples following a fire at a plastics plant in Richmond, Indiana. [Source]

CBS Chicago (16 Apr 2023)

“Teens shot during large crowd gathering in the Loop” – There was a heavy police presence as hundreds of teens gathered in Chicago’s Loop, causing chaos Saturday evening. [Source]

CBS Sunday Morning (16 Apr 2023)

“Outsmarting shoplifters” — It is estimated that tens of billions of dollars’ worth of merchandise is lost to shoplifters each year. And as shoplifters (working individually or as part of organized retail crime gangs) become more brazen, store owners are looking for new ways to stop them. Correspondent Rita Braver visits the Loss Prevention Research Council, which is testing new ways for retailers to protect their goods from being pilfered. [Source]

Fox 11 (16 Apr 2023)

“Street takeover leads to looting in Compton” — A crowd of people was caught on video breaking into a gas station in Compton during a street takeover over the weekend. [Source]

Fox 32 Chicago (16 Apr 2023)

“After teens cause chaos, Chicago mayor-elect Johnson says ‘Not constructive to demonize youth starved of opportunities'” — For years now, Chicago residents and police have faced an annual problem: when the weather gets warm, teenagers like to flood public places and behave badly. Chicago has just undergone an unusually early warm spell, and as if on cue, teenagers rampaged two nights in a row. [Source]

KMBC 9 (16 Apr 2023)

“‘We are praying for healing,’ Hundreds march in support of 16-year-old boy shot after knocking on” — [Source]

NBC New York (16 Apr 2023)

“NYC Man Busted on Long Island With Enough Fentanyl to ‘Wipe Out Nassau County'” — Law enforcement officials announced today that a Bronx man has been arrested for transporting three kilograms of pure fentanyl. Adam Kuperstein reports. [Source]

NBC News (16 Apr 2023)

“Fire at Georgia plant prompts evacuation order” — Fire officials say a fire at the Pinova resin factory in Brunswick, Georgia, reignited, sending large plumes of smoke into the air and prompting evacuations. Officials say the flames have been contained and a shelter-in-place order remains for the entire city. [Source]

PBS NewsHour (16 Apr 2023)

“Why mortality for young Americans is increasing at an alarming rate” — Life expectancy for the average American is now 76 years, hitting the lowest point in nearly two decades after declining for the second year in a row. Dr. Steven Woolf, director emeritus of the Virginia Commonwealth University Center on Society and Health, joins John Yang to discuss the factors behind this trend. [Source]

WGN News (16 Apr 2023)

“2 teens shot, 15 arrested in the Loop during large disturbance” — Two teens were shot and 15 people were arrested Saturday night during a large crowd disturbance in the Loop. [Source]

Fox 32 Chicago (15 Apr 2023)

“Hundreds of teenagers flood into downtown Chicago, smashing car windows, prompting police response” — Hundreds of teenagers flooded into Downtown Chicago on Saturday night, smashing car windows, trying to get into Millennium Park, and prompting a major police response. A woman whose car was smashed by people jumping on the windshield said her husband was beaten as he sat in the driver’s seat. Police were escorting tourists and others back to their cars in the Millennium Park garage. Please note, there is an incorrect graphic on the beginning of this video which says “Grant Park.” This all happened along Michigan Avenue near Millennium Park. [Source]

Fox 5 San Diego (15 Apr 2023)

“Dozens Of San Diego Streetlights Vandalized” — [Source]

NBC (15 Apr 2023)

“California Highway Patrol busts suspected organized retail crime ring” — After months of surveillance into an organized retail crime ring targeting Home Depot locations across Southern California, authorities reported the arrests of three suspects. Investigators reported that they recovered about $150,000 worth of high-end power tools. NBC News’ George Solis has a behind-the-scenes look at the operation. [Source]

Fox 32 Chicago (14 Apr 2023)

“Hundreds of teens gather at 31st Street Beach, leading to chaotic moments” — A large crowd of teens gathered at 31st Street Beach Friday night, which led to chaotic and tense moments. [Source]

ABC 7 Chicago (13 Apr 2023)

“Texas dairy farm explosion injures 1 person, kills 18,000 cattle” — An explosion at a dairy farm in the Texas Panhandle critically injured one person and killed an estimated 18,000 head of cattle. [Source]

MSNBC (13 Apr 2023)

“As many as 1,000 children separated from families by Trump are U.S.-born citizens” — Alex Wagner shares reporting from the New York Times than as many as 1,000 children separated from their families under Donald Trump’s immigration policy, are U.S.-born citizens, most of whom were not tracked after separation and are lost by the system. [Source]

NBC News (13 Apr 2023)

“Thief steals around $100K in dimes from tractor-trailer in Philadelphia” — Police in Philadelphia say someone made off with about $100,000 from a tractor-trailer that was carrying a total of $750,000 in dimes. Authorities say the driver left the trailer unattended in a lot overnight. WCAU’s Frances Wang reports. [Source]

WFSB 3 (13 Apr 2023)

“Rocky Hill homeowner attacked while confronting car burglary suspects” — [Source]

ABC 7 Chicago (12 Apr 2023)

“3 armored trucks robbed in Chicago area Wednesday” — There were 3 separate Brinks armored truck robberies in the Chicago area Wednesday; the first in Calumet City, the second in Lansing and the third in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood. [Source]

WBAL-TV11 Baltimore (12 Apr 2023)

“City leaders working to address ‘alarming’ spike in juvenile violent crime” — City leaders say violent juvenile crime is increasing at an alarming rate, so they’re working to tackle the issue. Baltimore City Council’s public safety committee wants to know what’s causing the increase. Committee members pressed law enforcement agencies on whether there is a coordinated response. There were a few honest answers. School police believe social media is fueling disputes and law enforcement agencies admit they could do a better job communicating with each other. [Source]

WBFF Fox45 Baltimore (11 Apr 2023)

“Calling for control at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor after Sunday’s shooting of teens” — Taking a closer look at what’s being done to help keep the Inner Harbor in downtown Baltimore safe, after the shooting of two teens Sunday. It was a chaotic scene on East Pratt Street just after 9 p.m. Sunday with a crowd of more than 200 youths…several of them seen running in all directions after the gunfire. Fox45 News caught up with a wife and mother who says she was having dinner with her family at the Cheesecake Factory at the Inner Harbor that night. She does not want her identity released, but the woman said, “We were standing out there and the shooting happened and we had to run.” [Source]

KHON2 News (9 Apr 2023)

“Smash-and-grabs hit 6 Waipahu stores in 1 go” — Several Waipahu business owners are picking up the pieces after six stores were hit in smash-and-grab style burglaries around 2:15 a.m. on Saturday, April 8. [Source]

Fox News (8 Apr 2023)

“California sheriff warns criminals are getting more brazen, violent” — A California sheriff with 30 years of law enforcement experience says criminals are becoming more violent and brazen, putting police and the community at risk. [Source]

Al Jazeera (7 Apr 2023)

Why are migrant children working dangerous jobs in the US? — Thousands of migrant children across the United States are working long hours in gruelling, often dangerous, conditions in factories, farms and mills. The children are alone in the US, typically having fled their countries, crossing the southern border without their parents. Many are seeking asylum and other protections under US and international law – a process that can take years and cost thousands of dollars. As they wait, they are in need of ways to support themselves and, for many, to send money to their families back home. Overnight shifts and dangerous work violate multiple longstanding child labour laws. So how is this happening? And what does it say about how migrants are treated in the US? In an UpFront special, host Marc Lamont Hill speaks to New York Times investigative reporter, Hannah Dreier, author of the expose: Alone and Exploited: Migrant Children Work Brutal Jobs Across the US; and Mario Bruzzone, senior policy adviser with the Women’s Refugee Commission’s Migrant Rights and Justice programme. [Source]

KTLA 5 (6 Apr 2023)

“Antibiotic-resistant super bacteria found for the first time in Los Angeles County” — An antibiotic-resistant bacteria was discovered for the first time in Los Angeles County wastewater and experts are concerned, saying the fast-spreading bacteria poses health risks, especially for the immunocompromised. The super bacteria was found by a USC professor and his team at the two largest wastewater facilities in L.A. County — Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant in Playa del Rey and the Joint Water Pollution Control Plant in Carson. The bacteria and its associated gene renders colistin, a “last resort” antibiotic, completely ineffective. Colistin is used for serious infections or conditions that can’t be treated with, or haven’t responded to antibiotics like penicillin. KTLA’s Chris Wolfe reports on April 6, 2023. [Source]

WBFF Fox45 Baltimore (6 Apr 2023)

“Chaotic crowd of juveniles around the Baltimore Inner Harbor” — There is a large group of juveniles in the Baltimore’s downtown area, according to the Baltimore Police Department. Police said officers have been deployed to East Pratt Street and East Lombard Street to monitor the activity. [Source]

Local 4 Detroit (4 Apr 2023)

“Tiny home eviction turns violent on Detroit’s west side” — Bailiffs made their way past protestors inside the home of a Detroit Tiny Home tenant, trying to remove them from the property forcibly. After a two year legal battle, a Tiny Home resident is being forced from their home. [Source]

More Perfect Union (3 Apr 2023)

“We Uncovered the Corporations Bringing Back Child Labor in America” — Iowa’s extreme child labor bill began in the office of Gov. Kim Reynolds and was written by top corporate lobbyists. The bill would allow kids young as 14 to work in meatpacking plants and on construction sites. Our investigation sheds light on its corrupt origins. [Source]

ABC 7 Bay Area (31 Mar 2023)

“Car break-ins force Raising Cane’s to close Bay Area dinning room” — Oakland Raising Cane’s management says the fast food restaurant is only allowing drive-thru service after several car break-ins in the parking lot as well as other robberies in the neighborhood. [Source]

Channel 4 (29 Mar 2023)

“At least 38 people dead in migrant detention centre fire” — When fire broke out in a migrant detention centre in the Mexican city of Ciudad Juárez on Monday, immigration officials quickly ran out of the building, along with 15 female detainees. But now many are asking why the guards did not try to release the men trapped inside locked rooms in the building. Of the 68 male detainees, at least 38 were known to have died. [Video Available on YouTube]

Fox 5 New York City (28 Mar 2023)

“More cars stolen in New York City” — NYPD crime statistics show a more-than-6% increase in grand larceny of auto or vehicle thefts between last year and this year so far. FOX 5 NY’s Stephanie Bertini has the story. [Source]

More Perfect Union (9 Mar 2023)

“We Went to East Palestine: What We Saw May Shock You” — We went down to East Palestine for a week to get residents’ side of the story after the Ohio rail disaster. People told us they’re getting sick and their pets are dying, while Norfolk Southern is trying to cover it up. John Russell (@heyjohnrussell) reports. [Source]

WSLS 10 (8 Mar 2023)

“West Virginia train derailment causes spill in New River” — 10 News has crews on the scene to give you live team coverage. [Source]

KPTV Fox12 Oregon (6 Mar 2023)

“Walmart’s departure from Portland shines light on rampant property crime” — FOX 12 spoke to multiple local business owners and they all point to crime as the main reason many are leaving Southeast 82nd Avenue, including Walmart. [Source]

Below are stats for a single neighborhood in one year.

KGW News (3 Mar 2023)

“Portland braces for impact of new ‘tranq’ drug: Animal tranquilizer mixed with fentanyl” — The DEA agents report Xylazine is being mixed with fentanyl and traced to a growing number of overdose cases. The drug is known as “tranq”, others call it the “zombie drug”. [Source]

KGW News (3 Mar 2023)

“Repeat shoplifting forces Washington Square store to close” — The shop opened just a year ago, but the owner said 19 thefts in the time since then made the business unsustainable. [Source]

CBC News (28 Feb 2023)

“Oregon decriminalized drugs 2 years ago. Here’s what happened” — Two years ago, Oregon decriminalized possession of small amounts of all hard drugs to try and curb an overdose crisis. As B.C. begins a similar pilot project, CBC’s Lyndsay Duncombe travels to Portland and learns more about how the move is playing out and what lessons can be learned. [Source]

NBC10 (26 Feb 2023)

“Millions of Americans Are About to Have SNAP Benefits Cut” — NBC10’s Matt DeLucia reports on what the end of the COVID-pandemic-related extra SNAP benefits coming to an end means to millions of people. [Source]

Good Morning America (26 Feb 2023)

“Millions brace for an end to SNAP benefits” — After nearly 3 years, the federal government is ending pandemic-era payments to low-income families on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. [Source]

VICE News (24 Feb 2023)

“‘I Don’t Feel Safe’: Ohio’s Derailed Train Left a Cloud of Distrust” — More than two weeks after a train derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, leaving behind a toxic cloud of hazardous chemicals, some residents say they still don’t feel safe going home – even though Norfolk Southern and the EPA say it’s OK to return. Video queued to 8m 24s. [Source]

CBS News (13 Feb 2023)

“Millions of Americans are facing “hunger cliff” as food stamp benefit cuts loom” — Millions of Americans are facing the risk of food insecurity when supplements to SNAP benefits expire next month. CBS MoneyWatch reporter Aimee Picchi joins Tony Dokoupil and Lilia Luciano with more. [Source]

2022 News

KGW News (27 Oct 2022)

“We watched shoplifters steal from Nike, Home Depot and Target. Nobody stopped them.” — “It is frustrating for people working in that store to see people stealing every day,” explained Jeremy Girard of the Oregon Retail Crime Association. [Source]

CBS (6 Oct 2022)

“Book banning in U.S. schools and libraries on the rise” — A library in Michigan could close after the town voted to defund it over a handful of LGBTQ+ books that some deem inappropriate. Elaine Quijano takes a look. [Source]

2021 News

ABC News (26 Nov 2021)

“Manhunt for smash-and-grab robbers” — Dozens of robbers have been organizing and coordinating sometimes-violent burglaries, targeting department stores and luxury brand boutiques. [Source]

By Greg Johnson

Greg Johnson is a freelance writer and tech consultant in Iowa City. He is also the founder and Director of the ResourcesForLife.com website. Learn more at AboutGregJohnson.com