With seven weeks left in 2012, a homicide recorded last week in Camden, N.J., was the 58th this year, tying the record set in 1995, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. But the total for the year is even worse on a per-capita basis because the city has about 8,000 fewer citizens than it did in ’95. “The boldness of the criminal is greater now than it was back then. There are greater social challenges today than there were then,” said Camden Police Chief Scott Thomson, who was a Camden patrol officer in 1995.
Thomson said decreased staffing levels in the department had left the city vulnerable, though he does not see police as a panacea for what he calls a “culture of violence.” Of the 58 deaths ruled homicides so far this year, 54 victims were male. Gunshot wounds account for the vast majority of the deaths (46), followed by stabbing (six), blunt trauma (five), and smoke inhalation (one). The average victim’s age was 29.