By: Follow South Jersey Staff
CAMDEN, N.J. — Camden City saw reductions in homicides, shootings, and overall crime in 2020 according to Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR), a Federal Bureau of Investigation program that generates statistics of crime data for use in law enforcement.
According to the report, there were more than 500 fewer crime victims in the city in 2020 compared to the preceding year, and approximately 1,700 fewer crime victims compared to 2014. Total crimes fell to under 3,000 in Camden for the first time in more than 50 years.
Last year, the city logged 2,796 total crimes compared to 10,724 in 1974, the first year on record for UCR data, marking a 73 percent reduction.
“God knows that 2020 was a year like no other, but with that said, the men and women of the department performed under the weight of so many challenges admirably,” Director of the Camden County Board of County Commissioners, Louis Cappelli Jr. said. “The work they have done, hand in hand, with our community is truly remarkable. Our officers have been a key factor in everything from food distribution to handing out masks in the city and have been at the forefront of the pandemic response outside of their day to day guardianship in the neighborhoods. There is a reason we continue to make progress in our city that cuts against the grain of national trends in every urban area in America.”
Throughout the last year, several changes took place in the department from the promotion of a new chief to the statewide adoption of the agency’s use of force guideline that was nationally recognized. In addition, the department has continued to work on officer training coming up with innovative new methods to consistently enhance methods and strategies to policing in the city.
Camden County Police Department Chief Gabriel Rodriguez, who was sworn in on the last day of 2020, said that working with the community will help make greater gains in crime reduction in Camden.
“We saw solid progress made in 2020 and I’m looking forward to building on those gains that the chiefs prior to me have achieved,” Rodriguez said. “I know that we cannot do anything without working in concert with our community and it will continue to be imperative for us to be partners with our residents and other institutions in the city. Furthermore, I also want to thank the officers working the beat who are the backbone of this agency and who make a difference in the city every day.”
Not only were homicides and shootings down, but reductions took place in rapes and robberies as well in 2020. Both categories of violent crime were down by double digits, with robberies falling 26 percent and sexual assaults coming down 18 percent.
“This crime data underscores the tremendous progress we are making here in the City of Camden,” Mayor Frank Moran said. “Camden continues to trend in the right direction, but the hard work is far from over. Our community is now consistently realizing decreases in violent crime as we reach historic lows. These public safety advancements are the result of collaboration, innovative technology and enlightened policies. In addition, positive interactions and a concerted effort by police officers to build meaningful relationships with residents have begun to take hold. I look forward to working with the Camden County Police Department and new Chief Gabe Rodriguez as we build upon these community policing efforts.”
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