Stockton, the river port city 90 miles east of San Francisco particularly badly hit by the US property crash, could become the largest American city to go formally bankrupt. A quarter of the city's police force has been cut, a third of its fire staff and 40 per cent of all other workers. Wages and medical benefits of the remaining workforce have been slashed.
Violent crime rates are now among the highest in the US and the unemployment rate is nearly twice the national average. The Californian cities of Mammoth Lakes and San Bernardino have also filed for bankruptcy. ■