Camden cops snapping pics of cars at drug corners

A fascinating story from the Associated Press’ Geoff Mulvihill this weekend about a new tactic police in Camden are employing to catch and deter drug traffic from their crime-besieged city.

Police under Chief Scott Thompson are sending letters, due to arrive next week, to the homes of the registered owners of vehicles that they catch on camera at one of the South Jersey city’s numerous drug corners.

There’s a camera posted at the North Camden intersection of 6th and York streets, for instance, a corner surrounded by vacant lots and known for heroin dealing. But with the ranks of Camden’s police depleted by budget cuts, and drug crimes so hard to prosecute and deter, the Camden cops and prosecutors hope that the letters home convince someone there to either seek help themselves or seek help for a loved one. Picking up license plates from the surveillance camera’s footage is relatively cost-effective, police say, yielding more than 600 different vehicles since the start of the year in just a few hours a day of checking.

And of course, as prosecutors and police have long contended, the vast majority of those vehicles are registered outside of Camden, from the more affluent suburbs where demand is propping up the supply in Camden.

Interesting, novel stuff. But what do you think? Do you applaud this kind of camera-oriented law enforcement, or does it creep you out in a Big Brother kind of way? 

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