Equating crime in Camden, N.J., with “urban terrorism,” Camden County Prosecutor Vincent Sarubbi yesterday called for a summit to rethink crime-fighting strategies in the beleaguered city, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. “The problems we have can’t alone be addressed by law enforcement,” Sarubbi said. “It’s clear we need to do more.” The city was ranked the country’s most dangerous in a study of 2003 crime statistics, and the tag has clearly hit a nerve.
Sarubbi is inviting representatives of private, federal, state, county, and local agencies to the summit, to be held in the next month. “In the last two years, we have lost substantial law enforcement resources here in the city of Camden,” Sarubbi said. “I am asking for a call to arms.” The number of state troopers assigned to the city has fallen from 100 in 2002 to about 20 in recent weeks. Sarubbi said that though the number of city police officers appeared on paper to be at an all-time high, recent retirements had left 18 jobs open. Those jobs will remain unfilled because of the city’s unofficial hiring freeze. Sarubbi added that his staff of 50 narcotics officers was outnumbered by the city’s 150 open-air drug markets.