By: Follow South Jersey Staff
CAMDEN, N.J. – For the second year in a row, Camden City saw a reduction in overall crime during 2021 according to Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR), a Federal Bureau of Investigation program that generates statistics of crime data for use in law enforcement.
The Camden County Police Department finished 2021 with 23 homicides and there were more than 500 fewer crime victims in the city in 2021 compared to 2019, and approximately 1,700 fewer crime victims compared to 2014. Total crimes fell to under 3,000 in Camden for the second time in more than 50 years.
“Under leadership from a native son, the department continues to maintain historic reductions in crime and produce less victims from a partnership with the community,” Director of the Camden County Board of Commissioners, Louis Cappelli Jr. said in a press release from the county. “When so many other places have seen surges in violent crime, the men and women of this agency continue to build bridges and work with clergy, residents and stakeholders to enhance the quality of life throughout the city.”
Last year, the city logged 2,750 total crimes compared to 10,724 in 1974, the first year on record for UCR data, marking a 74% reduction.
During the last year, several changes took place in the department from the former state Attorney General, Gurbir Grewal, requesting the CCPD to train other departments throughout the state in de-escalation to a visit from Gov. Phil Murphy who lauded the command staff for the progress that’s been made in the city. Additionally, the department has continued to work on officer training and accountability, coming up with innovative methods to consistently enhance operations and strategies in the city.
Chief Gabriel Rodriguez said that the tenets of unity policing, mutual respect, and the preservation of life are impacting officer interaction with residents.
“Last year was another challenging year, based on the pandemic’s grip and some of the national crime trends, but again the officers of this agency did outstanding work throughout our community,” Rodriguez said. “We worked to build on our unity policing model from our engagement with the youth through the village initiative to our adopt a family program aiding residents in need. We’ve continued to make progress, but we still have a long way to go.”
This year the agency started the HoopIt Up program, senior bingo and the Adopt a Family initiative in addition to some of its standard engagement programs. The department also worked with nonprofits to develop the not in our parks program, organized diaper distributions and volunteered time coaching in the East Camden Little League. The CCPD also played a significant role in assisting Covid-19 vaccine administrations throughout the city from pop-up sites to stand alone clinics.
Mayor Vic Carstarphen stated that the department has made overall improvements to the city for the public.
“Public safety was one of my core priorities when I took office last year and one of the most important functions of my administration,” Carstarphen said. “Working alongside Chief Rodriguez, we’ve made positive strides in the city and I believe Camden has become a model for other cities throughout the nation to replicate. That said, we have miles to go and promises to keep, so we must move forward as a team with all our partners in the community so the city and its residents can thrive.”
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