Camden, N.J., police say while their city remains a dangerous place, quieter nights come more frequently now. “It’s really not as bad as it used to be,” said Sgt. Raphael Thornton. “It’s actually a little boring to drive around now sometimes. It’s good to be boring.” Plagued by drugs and poverty, crime in Camden hit a high in 2012 when the city recorded 67 murders. Then local and state officials disbanded the city police department and created a new one that claims it is stemming the tide of violence in the city of 77,000, reports the Newark Star-Ledger.
The new Camden County Police Department Metro Division was established with the help of Gov. Chris Christie, who boasts about its success and is widely expected to discuss Camden across the U.S. if he launches a presidential campaign. “In a city suffering from epidemic crime, we acted boldly,” declared Christie at his State of the State address last month. “We terminated the city police department and, partnering with the county, put a new Metro Division on the streets,” he said. “The results? Murder down 51 percent. Firearm assaults down by one-third (and) all violent crime is down 22 percent.” Even those most optimistic about Camden aren’t calling it a safe city. Supporters and critics agree it’s far too early for anyone to declare victory. Last year’s murder total Christie highlighted in his speech was just one fewer than in 2009, the year before he took office.