Camden Had Lowest Homicide Rate in 33 Years in 2017

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The Chief of Police for Camden County is proud of the fact that 2017 ended with the lowest homicide rate the city has had in 33 years.

“These neighborhoods were made safer, not through us arresting our way in trying to exercise authority if you will, but more so in just empowering the people that live there to reclaim their front steps and enjoy the neighborhoods themselves,” said chief Scott Thomson of the Camden County Police Department.

In 2013, it was agreed that the Camden County Police Department change their direction of law enforcement.

Thomson credits their new stress on "community policing" for the decline in the city's crime shown in the recently released statistics from last year.

What a place like Camden needs is police officers to be more guardians than warriors.

“This city does not need a bunch of cops with shotguns and riot helmets running around trying to arrest our way into a safer city, that’s failed policy,” said Thomson. “What a place like Camden needs is police officers to be more guardians than warriors.”

Statistics show that in 2017 overall violent crimes were down 7 percent from 2016, giving the City of Camden a new low number that they haven’t seen in decades.

“1985 was the last time we had recorded this few number of homicides, and as far as our overall crime rate, we are at the lowest we’ve ever been since we’ve been tracking, back in 1969,” said Thomson.

Read: Volunteers Saving Lives During Harsh Code Blue Stretch in Cumberland County

Thomson says that the community is changing for the better as the city sees progress with new businesses coming in and more residents feeling safer with the added number of officers interacting on the street.

“We are celebrating the fact that less mothers are burying their children and that the quality of life has significantly enhanced in many neighborhoods,” said Thomson.

But there’s still plenty of work to be done.

“You know, we still have a tremendous amount of challenges in our city, and we view this as progress and not [a] success,” said Thomson.

To keep these numbers from rising again, Thomson says they will continue to be investing in the youth and building trust with Camden residents.

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