Moral Low Ground


Camden, NJ; America’s 2nd Most Violent City, Lays off Half its Police Force



The city council in Camden, New Jersey, a blighted city of 78,000 just across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, has voted unanimously to lay off a quarter of its government workers, including half its police officers and a third of its firefighters, in an attempt to bridge a $26.5 million budget shortfall.

Public safety in Camden, already the nation’s second most dangerous city, will likely deteriorate even further with half its police officers no longer on the beat. Over a third of all families here live in poverty. Forty percent have no income. Homelessness, drugs, prostitution, and HIV are rampant. As many as 50,000 people have fled the hopeless city. Most of them will never return.

It wasn’t always like this. Although small, Camden was once an industrial powerhouse. RCA, the world’s largest manufacturer of phonographs and the records they played, was based here, as were recording studios that sprung up around the company. Campbell Soup was made here. So were US Navy ships. But those glory days are long gone, replaced by blight so severe that people in much of the city live worse than the average citizens of many developing countries.

Such is life in this, the accelerating decline of the American empire. Already, the gap between rich and poor in the United States is the widest of any industrialized nation and growing wider by the day. Poverty, hunger and unemployment are rampant and growing. Budgets for vital social services are dramatically slashed, further exacerbating Camden’s crisis.

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