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A joint effort between Rutgers University students, the Camden District Council Collaborative Board and Angel Osorio, community justice director in the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office is aimed at cleaning up and improving pubic safety in one of Camden’s most notorious neighborhoods.
North Camden is a crime-ridden neighborhood that needs a lot of help. Rutgers students have enrolled themselves in a class to replace burnt out street lights, remove graffiti and clean up 23 alleys. This is not a class for the faint of heart. Checking the street lights means driving around one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the county looking for burnt out street lights, in the dark.
In a twelve block area, 16 out of 47 street lights were out. Lighting up Camden will reduce crime. PSE&G is notified of the broken lights and tries to fix them as quickly as possible. The lighting project also includes finding funding so that residents can install and pay for porch lights (Fifth Ward Councilor Dan Weand has suggested this very idea for Pottstown). Unfortunately in Camden, street lights are vandalized according to PSE&G.
This class came about as a result of Rutgers officials working with community members who are trying to carry out the North Camden Neighborhood Plan. The class’s instructor, Lt. Daniel Howard, is a 24-year veteran of the Mount Laurel police department. Rutgers-Camden’s new chancellor, Wendell Pritchett, wants his campus to be a national model for a civically engaged university.
Rutgers new director of civic engagement, Andrew Seligshon stated Rutgers sees itself as an anchor institution in Camden. The university wants to attract good students and faculty members. North Camden residents want a safer, more attractive neighborhood and better schools. By partnering together, everybody wins!
I wish I had more than two thumbs to put up! Talk about teaching social responsibility! Awesome program and kudos to all involved.