Tuesday, January 18, 2011

One More Reason NOT to go to Camden

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So fellow NJ residents are probably well aware that there are certain cities we generally try to avoid, but usually aren't as bad as their reputations would suggest. You know, Newark, Asbury Park, Weehawken... And then there's Camden. No one in their right mind goes to Camden, especially at night and/or with out of state plates. Even when I was in Philly, a.k.a. Kill-adelphia, everyone knew that they would do anything to avoid going over the bridge alone.If it's not the drugs, or the gangs, it's the cops. But better to have them than not.

Up until last November, Camden was ranked the most dangerous city in the entire country. Now it's #2. Not because it's improved any, but because crime increased in St. Louis.

Now here's what really blows my mind - today, half the police force and a third of the firefighters were laid off due to budget cuts, in a city where crime quite literally runs rampant through the streets. I can almost understand the firefighters to a point, and the office jobs. Even animal control to some extent. (It will now be privatized. Ugh...) But cops?! In Camden?!?! The city has had a year to plan for this, and try to readjust the budget. So why does public safety take the biggest hit??

Nevermind the actual officers at the moment, but the citizens of Camden?? How are they supposed to feel now? Like any city, if you stay away from the "bad parts" or the "bad people," you'll be just fine. But there are rumors that cops simple will ignore some "emergencies" because they won't be able to take care of them all. How is that fair to the residents, Mayor?  And when everyone knows that the police are unlikely to be able to do anything? And when the residents know that they are less protected? Say (Darwin forbid) there is a situation like what happened in Tucson? Or worse? How does the city plan to respond?

And on another note, how are the police going to make more money now? I suspect the answer is very clear - more tickets and arrests.

I understand the need for balancing budgets and cutting spending, but public safety should NOT be an option.

I could go on about how over 400 people have now lost their jobs in this dismal economy, and will likely face financial trouble, and this entire situation is insanely unfair to everyone and ridiculous and potentially dangerous, etc. But I also have things to do- like trying to keep my own family from becoming homeless by the end of the month. Which is a real possibility right now... seriously. So I'm probably going to be busy for some time, or without internet access. Updates here from me will likely be via Tumblr & Twitter & the Google feed (all from my phone); but I don't know how long that will last either since the account holder is currently throwing a tantrum and could shut it all off at any moment, and my hours at work are still at the bare minimum. 2011 has been pretty bad, and is only getting worse...

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