East St. Louis

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East St. Louis, commonly abbreviated as "ESL", is a city in Southern Illinois directly across the Mississippi River from St. Louis. It is a sprawling city with 26,708 inhabitants (2012).
While it attracts a few visitors who come mainly for gambling, East St. Louis is definitely not your typical travel destination. In 2013, it was considered to be the most dangerous city in the contiguous United States, based on violent crime statistics. A visit to ESL could be considered a way of getting a first-hand glimpse of the challenges that poverty-stricken U.S. urban areas face today.

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