As crime rate dips, Christie touts Camden as ‘model’ for regional police efforts

 Gov. Chris Christie and Camden Mayor Dana Redd talk about  the year-old Camden County Police force and its impact on crime in the region. (Steve Trader/WHYY)

Gov. Chris Christie and Camden Mayor Dana Redd talk about the year-old Camden County Police force and its impact on crime in the region. (Steve Trader/WHYY)

A increase in police numbers and a decrease in crime victims have left Camden a different city than it was one year ago.

After the entire city police department was replaced by a county metro force, there are 277 fewer crime victims compared with this same time last year, county officials said.

Gov. Chris Christie visited Camden Tuesday to applaud the success the new force has had in bringing down the city’s high crime rate.

“Camden is becoming a model for other cities and counties across the state to emulate,” said Christie. “I talk about it all the time, and encourage other cities experiencing similar problems to look at what Camden and the county of Camden have done together to try and make crime fighting more efficient.”

The former city police department had about 250 officers patrolling the streets, with as few as 12 per night shift. A newly graduated class of cadets will bring the county force up to 400 officers.

Mayor Dana Redd can see the changes.

“If you ride through this city when kids get out of school you’ll see them playing in our parks and you’ll see them having positive contacts with our police officers, which is a good thing,” said Redd.

Last year, the police union was upset when the city’s force was dissolved in favor of the county metro force. Redd says that 150 of the city’s former officers became part of the county department.

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