"For too long, Camden has been one of the most dangerous cities in New Jersey, and in America," said Governor Chris Christie in his State of the State Address this year. He wasn't kidding.
Plagued by drugs, homelessness and poverty, Camden had the highest crime rate in the nation among cities of 75,000 residents or more, according to CQ Press' City Crime Rankings 2014, which are based on an analysis of FBI statistics from 2012.
Last spring, the state transferred the responsibility of policing Camden from the city to the county. It seems to be helping. More officers have been hired and manpower is up about 30%, according to chief Scott Thomson.
"We've been able to put more officers in unstable neighborhoods and suppress flagrant crime," he said.
Camden recorded 57 homicides in 2013, down from 67 the year before and violent crime of all types fell 38% year-over-year in January, according to Thomson.