Is Camden too dangerous to go outside? (Opinion)
Is Camden too dangerous to go outside?
That was certainly the sentiment expressed by Camden resident, Jose who called the show Wednesday morning. He lives only a block from where two cops were ambushed while waiting at a red light.
Thankfully the officers' injuries were not life-threatening. Jose told me about how he keeps his kids inside because the streets have become too dangerous, with out-of-control drug violence. His take is that the cops have been effective reducing crime in parts of the city and the dealers and gang members have concentrated their efforts in the south section of the beleaguered city instead.
During my conversation with Jose, I shared the story of my father opening a manufacturing plant decades ago and wanting to use guard dogs to keep the place secure. He laughed. having a similar reaction that locals had when my dad suggested it. The answer then? They'll just shoot the dogs.
It's a sad state of affairs when a family can't venture outside for fear of getting hurt or killed. It's a dangerous situation when cops can be open targets waiting for a red light to change. Chief Scott Thomson is doing a very good job modernizing the force and pushing back on crime. Things are turning around — but not for everyone, clearly. And without a strong economy and job creation, the city cannot sustain a reduction in crime.
The shooting of the two cops is just a reminder that dramatic change is needed in Camden and in other cities across our state. I'd like to see the state either dispatch additional resources from the State Police or even consider mobilizing the National Guard to maintain peace in neighborhoods. Once you have a lockdown on crime, then it's time to use tax incentives to recruit companies from other states to bring their business to NJ cities. Tax incentives in exchange for relocation and local hiring. That, plus a dramatic increase in police presence may just be the kickstart a place like Camden needs to get back to the prosperity and security that they really haven't seen since the end of World War Two III .
It's a tragic story really. Politicians continue to pay lip-service to our struggling cities. How about doing something? Start with tax breaks and cops. Who speaks for Camden?
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