The addition of 88 police recruits, which boosted Camden, N.J.’s force to 327 sworn officers, has allowed foot patrols to be started in each of the city’s 21 neighborhoods, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. the fight to win back the streets comes as the county police force continues to grow its brass, with plans to reach 411 officers by June. Some are former members of the city’s police force, which was disbanded last spring.
Despite the extension of foot patrols, Camden has seven homicides this year. The city had 57 last year, among its worst, and the previous year saw a record 67. So the officers prepare. They throw on a bulletproof vest, pack pepper spray and two extra magazines on their belts, lodge a .40 caliber Smith & Wesson handgun into their holsters, and hope a simple “Hey, how ya doing?” will be more powerful than a weapon.