We’ve heard how Governor Christie wanted to create a portion of Atlantic City as a Family Fun Destination, which would make it more inviting not only to gamblers, but to families looking for some wholesome entertainment.

How’s that working out so far?

Not so much.

Especially in the face of a couple of Canadian tourists who were stabbed to death in a botched robbery attempt by a woman with a history of mental illness.

Two Canadian women were killed Monday morning when Antoinette Pelzer, whose last known address was in Philadelphia, attacked them with a butcher knife on the corner of Michigan and Pacific avenues. The attack occurred in front of AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, City Campus, and Bally’s Atlantic City.

A block away is The Walk, a 100-store outdoor complex operated by Tanger Outlets. The complex is often referenced by officials as one of the most popular tourist destinations outside of the resort’s 12 casinos.

In the wake of that, a state official charged with leading the resort’s redevelopment efforts said the senseless killings are a major setback to efforts to promote the city as a safe vacation destination.

“This is a blow. There isn’t any other way to describe it,” said John Palmieri, executive director of the New Jersey Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, which controls the Tourism District. “There wasn’t anything that could have been done to prevent this.
Nevertheless, our responsibility is to create a clean and safe environment … to create an environment that’s appealing for visitors.”

Carolyn Thomas, of Peoria, Ill., set foot in Atlantic City for the first time Monday after arriving on a bus trip with friend, Linda Webb of Milton, Penn. Thomas said she heard some talk of the attacks on the bus ride followed by questions about the city’s policing efforts. Both women said they knew few details of the attack — which was intercepted by a police officer within 13 seconds, according to law-enforcement officials.

“I didn’t realize it had happened in the daytime … unsettling,” Webb said Tuesday.

Thomas said because of the attack she would plan to always walk with a friend and be aware of her surroundings.

“It just makes you want to be a little more cautious, but I don’t think there’s anything you can do about it,” Thomas said. “Things like this happen in cities, but they happen everywhere. It happens in Peoria, too.”

True, Peoria...probably not the “Camden of the Midwest”, but no safe haven either…so at least she has the right outlook.

However, as stated above, this does nothing to alter the image of Atlantic City as “Camden by the Sea!”