On Tuesday, the city across the river from Philadelphia, plans to enact massive layoffs. Camden, New Jersey officials say they’ll cutting almost 400 workers, nearly half of them police officers and firefighters.Camden Mayor Dana Redd said the layoffs are not an easy move, but she’s facing a $26.5 million budget gap.”The city is confronted with a fiscal crisis,” said Redd. “We’re really depending on the bargaining units to help us and to share in the sacrifice–the sacrifice that has been made by the Administration and the non-uniformed employees.”Many residents and business owners worry crime will run rampant after the layoffs.
The founder of the Guardian Angels, Curtis Sliwa, said his group will start patrolling the city aggressively this weekend, with members from New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.”We’ll be dispatching them into different sectors of Camden in four-person patrols: familiarizing them with the city of Camden,” said Sliwa. “We want the Guardian Angels fully-informed, fully-cognizant of the boundaries and the streets in Camden because we intend on now beginning to patrol it on a regular basis to fill the void.”
But Camden Police Chief John Scott Thomson said he’s taking steps to keep the city safe. He says Camden–which already ranks high in crime and poverty–will not be more dangerous after the layoffs.