PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Charlie LeDuff joined Chris Stigall on Thursday on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT to talk about his new book…and to caution that Philadelphia could be close to the type of collapse that’s currently being experienced by Detroit.

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“Philly is as close as you’re going to get. I warn Philly a lot — be careful about the choices you’re making,” he said of his book, Detroit: An American Autopsy, which was released last month in paperback.

LeDuff also described his experience returning to Detroit and suggested that conditions in and around Philadelphia are eerily similar.

“We wanted to live in Detroit, but we couldn’t afford to live in the ghetto. A house goes for $36- or $38,000 a year, your taxes are $8,000, your homeowners insurance is $7,000, your car insurance in $3,000, your utility bills are taxed, your schools are useless, the ambulance doesn’t show up, the garbage collection comes when they want to, and you wonder why people leave,” he explained.

LeDuff addressed Philadelphia’s struggle to find money to pay for essential services as well.

“Philly’s got problems with the schools, with the pensions, with the budget. Be really careful with what you cut. You want to cut benefits to public safety, then that’s your choice; that’s what your communities got to decide. But you can’t cut equipment, you can’t cut dispatch. You can’t [cut] the things that keep a lid on the worm pile as the United States tries to figure out a new future for itself.”

When looking for solutions to the types of messes that big cities find themselves in, LeDuff said he believes they need many things, but it all starts with fighting crime.

“Government programs, the family is broken, none of it works. We need jobs, but we already shipped them to Bangladesh. What we need first is order, public safety, and that a kid sees consequences for his actions. That he actually sees a judge. That he might do a couple of days in jail.”

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