Camden homicide rate down 46 percent since regional force began

 (Nathaniel Hamilton/for NewsWorks)

(Nathaniel Hamilton/for NewsWorks)

There’s good news in the long-struggling city of Camden: With summer nearly over, the city has seen a dramatic drop in crime.

There have been 22 homicides this year — compared with 33 at this time last year. The difference is even more pronounced when comparing the latest statistics with those of 2012 when there were 41 slayings.

Since the city’s police department was replaced with a regional force in early 2013, the rate of non-lethal shootings has dipped by more than 45 percent.

“When we look at where our homicides are over the last two years, they’re down 46 percent,” said Camden County Police Chief Scott Thomson. Thomson attributes the drop to the hard work of the police, as well as the community.

“The effort of people in their communities to reclaim the neighborhood back from the thugs and the drug dealers that have been operating with impunity for quite some time,” he said, has made a big difference.

And that’s been a relief for Camden residents who have lived with the violence for years, Thomson said. “Unfortunately in some neighborhoods, the sound of gunfire would negatively define peoples’ lives.”

Even with a lower homicide rate, Camden still struggles compared with other cities.  Last year Trenton, which has a larger population than Camden, set an all time record with 37 homicides.  On an average year, Camden has about that many.

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