I’ve been to Cairo twice, and I wouldn’t say that it is worse than ESL or Gary in that it is openly dangerous to visit. The problem with Cairo is that it is almost completely empty of people. Blocks of streets that once were lined with homes and businesses are open fields, even in the middle of the central business district. It had over 15,000 people in 1920 at its zenith, packed into a small area between the Ohio & Mississippi (the downtown fronts the Ohio). It has now lost more than 80% of its population, down to around 2,500 today (even in 1980, it still had 6,000). It’s a damn shame, because it could’ve benefitted from tourism as a river town and the historic areas restored as with so many other places (like Paducah, Owensboro, Cape Girardeau). It’s criminal what’s been allowed to happen to it, and heartbreaking when you see it with your own eyes.
Well in an alternate reality Cairo has a population of over 1 Million and St. Louis is a Milwaukee to it’s Chicago.