The Camden County Freeholder Board and Camden Mayor Dana Redd announced today that they have made progress towards the creation of a regional police force that would include a metro division responsible for patrolling the City of Camden. Recent shootings have lead the City Council President to ask for the National Guard to help a police force reduced by budget cuts.
Manny Delgado, the Executive Director of the Cramer Hill Community Development Corporation, said the killing of a Camden corner store owner by two masked robbers has the Cramer Hill neighborhood on edge.
“We’ve seen a great heightening of armed robberies, nuisance crimes, quality of life crimes over the last two or three months,” said Delgado. “We’re attacking some of the abandoned buildings that were becoming harbors of criminal activity. We’re dealing with those, getting those demolished and rehabbing some.”Delgado said one of the big issues in Cramer Hill is lighting. His group is encouraging residents in key areas to turn on their porch lights and asking businesses to install lights in front of their properties. He hopes it will deter crime.Last January Camden Mayor Dana Redd went through with massive layoffs that some residents feared would give criminals free reign in the city. Delgado said Camden simply needs more police on the street. Camden County Prosecutor Warren Faulk too would like to see more boots hitting the pavement in Camden.
Faulk said since the city layoffs, his office has been required to do a lot more of the follow-up detective work in the city.
“The substantial uptick in crime that we’ve had over the last four to five months, and particularly the last two months, clearly indicates that the layoffs have had an impact,” said Faulk. “It doesn’t matter to me what patch the law enforcement officers are wearing as long as we can get them in the city.”The City and County are working to refine a draft policing plan developed by the County’s Consultant, John Timoney. Timoney, a former Philadelphia police chief, has warned that although a combined force might save money eventually, the start up costs could be substantial.