Drug War In Camden NJ Threatens To Set New Homicide Record


An escalating drug-trade turf war in Camden, N.J., could make 2008 one of the deadliest years in the city’s recorded history, says the Philadelphia Inquirer. As of last Friday, Camden had 25 homicides this year – an average of five a month, acting Camden County Prosecutor Joshua Ottenberg said. Eleven occurred during the same period in 2007. At the current rate, Camden could exceed its highest number of annual homicides on record, 58 in 1995. “Camden is a tough place to be for its residents,” Camden Police Chief Ed Hargis said. “There are honest people living here raising their families, and they’re being held prisoner right now.”

Small, established drug operations are giving way to larger, more organized networks. As the gang presence has increased, so have turf wars over neighborhoods or corners. “What I think is happening is that some of these [longtime drug networks] are not being taken over as quickly as it might have been assumed,” Ottenberg said. “They’re pushing back, and we’re seeing the friction.” Jeremiah Daley of the Philadelphia-Camden High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area said, “Camden’s been a troubled city for some time, and those are the kinds of situations where street gangs tend to evolve. You have a high concentration of poverty, and young people who are disaffected with the school system or have dropped out already. These people are ripe for the picking to become involved with gangs.”

Link: http://www.philly.com/philly/news/local/19637664.html

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