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Camden May Lose Its Police Force

The police department in the city of Camden may soon be managed by Camden County. Mayor Dana L. Redd announced that she was moving forward with a controversial plan to have the county take over law enforcement in the high-crime city. Moreover, the state police have begun random sweeps through the city in an effort to address the growing homicide and burglary rates.

City officials have been under growing pressure to do something about crime; the homicide rate has grown 30 percent, while the burglary rate has increased by 43 percent. Most attribute this increase in part to the layoff of nearly half the city's police force in January 2011. However, Camden has for many years been at the top of lists of American's most dangerous or violent cities.

Many critics view this latest effort to stem Camden's crime wave as too little, too late. The idea that a new police force would stop the decline of the city, which has gone from a busy industrial powerhouse to community characterized by empty houses and factories, has been received with skepticism.

The details of the county takeover have not been announced as the two parties work out fees and other compensation between the two jurisdictions.

Source:Policeone.com, "NJ 'city under siege' reworks police forces", by James Osborne and Darran Simon, Dec. 13, 2011.

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