CAMDEN — A $12,000 reward is being offered to catch the person responsible for shooting an 8-year-old girl Tuesday while she was playing on the sidewalk in front of her home.

But the reward — upped Friday afternoon from the original $5,000 offered a day earlier — might be a tough sell in this struggling, crime-ridden neighborhood that the Courier-Post describes as "rundown" and a place where residents "mind [their] own business" and fear cooperating with police.

Camden, like many urban areas across the state and country this year, has seen a spike in violent crime. As of last month, police counted at least 25 homicides this year. There were 32 all of last year.

Camden County Prosecutor Mary Eva Colalillo said the girl was playing on the sidewalk when she was struck. She was not the intended target of the shooting.

The girl, who as about to enter the third grade next month, was taken to Cooper University Hospital where she she was in critical condition, according to Colalillo.

Camden County Police told NBC 10 that the suspect sped away after the shooting.

Police Chief J. Scott Thompson said he spoke with the girl's mother and "I assured her that we're going to do everything we can to bring the cowards responsible for this. Bring them to justice and hold them accountable for their actions."

Residents of the block with many boarded-up and vacant homes told the Courier-Post that they've been seeing more drug dealers lately.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.

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