Camden police making changes to combat crime

CAMDEN, NJ - October 14, 2011

Seventeen-year-old Julian Dale was gunned down in Camden's Parkside section on Wednesday. He died yesterday and became the 7th homicide victim in the last two weeks and the 38th this year. There were 39 last year, one of the city's lowest rates. This year's spike in crime is a concern to residents and law enforcement.

"It's a shame that the young people that's coming up is coming up in a bad environment," says Peaches Dixon, a resident of Camden.

There are periods when shooting or stabbings are a daily occurrence. This week, there were shootings on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Also on Thursday, a cab driver was stabbed in an argument over a fare. The list for the year goes on and on.

"The F.B.I., the state police, and the prosecutor's office strategize each and every day on how we're going to get to the bottom of what has occurred and how we can prevent the next acts of violence from occurring," says Camden Police Chief Scott Thomson.

He also says some of the police laid off earlier this year will be rehired, bringing the force back up to 283. He adds that, "when these folks come back, they are going right to the street. They're not going into bureaucratic jobs, they're not going into closet jobs, and they're not going behind the desk."

The force will still be about a hundred officers short of last year this time. Residents say they want more police on the street. Dwayne Cowins moved out of Camden but his mother still lives there. "I feel as though if they had more officers out communicating with the people, showing a presence, and that would probably deter more of the crime out there," says Cowins.

Law abiding residents continue to live with the chronic crime in Camden, some feeling like prisoners in their own neighborhoods. Meanwhile, police try to do more with less in Camden.

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