Ten people have been killed in Camden, N.J., so far this year. Just two and a half months into 2011, the death toll is two more than last year’s tally for the same period. Carmelo Villegas, who has owned a Laundromat in East Camden for almost 30 years, said “it’s chaos” in Camden since the city laid off 60 firefighters and almost 170 police officers in January.
“The businesspeople are doing bad, bad, bad, because people are scared to go out in the street,” said Villegas. “The business is dropping down 50 percent. People come in the daytime, but when it starts to get dark in the afternoon, people are scared to go out in the street.”
“They’re scared because they’ve been mugged, they’ve been hit in the head,” he said. “And there’s nobody to protect them.” Villegas said he thinks the streets of Camden will become even more dangerous when the weather gets warmer. In a written statement, Camden Mayor Dana Redd said she will continue to look for ways to rehire police and fire personnel to ensure the safety of Camden’s residents.