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With county force in place, Camden sees drop in major crimes

 Camden Police Chief Scott Thompson tells reporters

Camden Police Chief Scott Thompson tells reporters "What you see in front of you are the instruments of the drug trade," referring to the 74 guns seized by officers since May 1st. (Ann Marie Awad/for NewsWorks)

Ninety days after the controversial launch of the Camden County Police force, city of Camden officials released statistics showing a decline in major crimes.

Officials laid out 74 firearms seized by county police, meant to show the 76 percent increase in gun seizures since Camden’s newly constituted police force hit the streets. 

“Look people are not going to feel safe over night,” said Camden County Chief of Police Scott Thompson during a Tuesday news conference. “What you’re going to hear from them is, ‘Is this better than what it once was?’ And I think the resounding answer to that is absolutely yes.” 

Thompson joined Mayor Dana Redd, City Council President Frank Moran and Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli in emphasizing that the increase in gun seizures illustrates a significant blow to the drug trade in Camden. 

“The guns you see before you were confiscated from folks with no regard for life,” Cappelli said.

Last year’s unprecedented move to lay off an entire unionized police department gained national attention. Officials say the statistics may silence some critics.

Since May 1, homicides are down 29 percent; day-time shootings are down more than 44 percent; and violent crime overall is down 11 percent in the city, most significantly in the Parkside and Fairview areas.

The incidence of some other crimes, including robbery and arson, has not declined.

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