Half of Camden police force gone

The Camden Waterfront
The Camden Waterfront

It’s a good bet that the criminals of Camden, New Jersey will have a renewed, albeit twisted, sense of purpose today as yesterday 168 Camden police officers handed in their badges due to massive city layoffs that were announced back in December.

The city is trying to point the fingers at the police and fire unions not willing to work with them but what they neglect to tell you is that 58% of all Camden properties are tax exempt. Not to mention the fact that the state has cut off its financial support of Camden and rightfully so I believe.

Camden Police Chief Scott Thomson said that

The department will no longer be able to “perform traditional services the public has come to expect,” such as responding to vehicle accidents without injuries, minor thefts, and vandalism, Thomson said.

Residents now will have to phone those incidents in or visit headquarters.

How long will it be before they stop responding to calls such as carjackings, domestic violence or a child’s disappearance?

Another thing is that some of the higher-ranking officers will be demoted to street patrol. How effective can they be when they’re probably pissed off that they’re there, to begin with? This could result in police responding to calls when they feel like it.

Camden is now a powder keg more so than ever and there’s a number of things that could set it off.  What if a  suspect were to be shot and killed or a police officer shot and killed or a child that gets caught in a gun battle’s crossfire among many other possibilities? If any of those things were to happen Camden would go up in flames, literally or figuratively.

I can’t possibly imagine what is next for Camden. Martial law maybe or at least the presence of National Guard troops in the foreseeable future.

What bothers me most is that if Camden does in fact collapse and become sort of a no man’s land it then becomes a cancer that will slowly infect the surrounding areas. Or once Camden is bled dry then the sites may be turned to its neighbor across the river, Philadelphia. Could anything be done to stop it?

As of today the timer just started on the ticking time bomb that is Camden. The problem is I don’t think it could ever be diffused.

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