Crime has spiked in Camden, N.J., since recent police layoffs, and citizens are being forced to adjust to a new model of law enforcement by telephone, reports the New York Times. Callers to 911 who report things like home burglaries or car break-ins are asked to file a report over the phone or at police headquarters. Officers rarely respond in person.
Police headquarters now sits nearly empty, its front reception window sometimes closed, as most of the department's staff has been pushed onto the street for patrol duty. Detectives cannot devote as much time to investigations; a widely praised bicycle unit was disbanded. Even the canine unit lost two of its three dogs. It is too early to tell if the police layoffs have allowed more crime to occur; in the first two months of 2011, there were fewer homicides than during the same period last year. But the number of assaults involving a firearm has more than tripled to 79 from 22 over that period.