After months of talking about layoffs and balancing the budget, Camden now has far fewer municipal employees. 168 police, 67 firefighters and 100 other city workers were let go last week. (That represents about 25% of the city’s employees) This is an effort to close Camden’s $26.5 million dollar budget deficit. (For a point of reference, Norristown’s entire 2011 budget is $25.5 million dollars).
The good news is that no spike in crime has occurred, yet. However, as one astute online commenter pointed out, wait until summer. It is too cold out now and people are staying indoors. This summer, when it hot and people are outside, things will get dicey. There is certainly something to be said for that theory.
Camden can not be compared to other suburbs their size. Generally, suburbs do not have the inner city problems that Camden does. Camden is certainly in a class by itself when you study their demographics and crime statistics. The crime rate and abject poverty are startling.
Another well made point was that Camden is not an island. It is surrounded with other suburbs and criminals are not stopped by the city line. Not good news for Camden’s affluent neighbors like Cherry Hill and Haddonfield, to name a few.
Let us hope that a solution can be found to resolve Camden’s budget problems before the warmer weather hits!