Public Safety & Justice

Is America's Most Dangerous City Losing Its Title?

April 2, 2014

Could Camden residents finally have a reason for optimism?

New police statistics show total crime - violent and non-violent - plummeted nearly 30 percent for the first quarter of 2014 compared against the same quarter from 2013.

There were three fewer homicides, dropping the total to 10, reflecting a 23 percent drop compared with 13 the same period last year. Assaults with a firearm plunged 45 percent.

“I believe this is the beginning of a resurgence,” said Camden resident Wren Ingram. “I have felt hope many times before, but this is completely different. It’s the absolute truth.”

For decades, Camden has been plagued by crime and frequently earned the unfortunate title of “America’s Most Dangerous City.”

Last May, a newly formed, non-unionized Camden County Police department took over from the disbanded,unionized Camden City Police Department. So the new statistics reflect one quarter under the old force compared against a quarter under the new force.

The new force implemented crime fighting devices such as license plate scanners, the full deployment of 160 “eye-in-the-sky” cameras and other high tech equipment that remotely monitor whole swaths of the city.

The first quarter figures show 875 total offenses recorded compared with 1,228 the same period last year. As a result, that would mean the effective crime rate dropped from 15.89 crimes per 1,000 residents to 11.32.  Even better news: Both violent and non-violent crime were down.

Though the new statistics give hope, they do only reflect one quarter, which is not enough to prove a sustained trend.  Crime rises and falls on a variety of complex reasons.  In fact, overall crime has been falling in many American cities.

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