Though 2011 is long gone, it continues to haunt Camden Mayor Dana L. Redd.
In addition to being the poorest city in the nation that year, Camden had the highest crime rate in the country.
CQ Press recently released its official ranking of 432 cities based on 2011 rates of reported crimes in a half-dozen categories: murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, and vehicle theft.
Camden’s overall crime rate was more than five times the national average. Its murder rate of 60.6 per 100,000 population was nearly 12 times higher.
And remember, last year Camden had an all-time city record of 67 reported homicides — up 20 from 2011.
Cities with high murder rates tend to place at the top of the overall ranking (which used to identify the country’s “most dangerous” locales) because the murder rate is so low nationally, said CQ Press spokeswoman Camille Gamboa.
The cities behind Camden in the rankings:
3. Flint, Mich.
4. St. Louis, Mo.
5. Oakland, Calif.
Newark was No. 9 and Trenton came in at No. 17. Philadelphia was No. 23. (Click HERE for the full list from lowest crime rate to highest)
CQ Press stopped calling the cities the “most dangerous” because the term was too “subjective,” Gamboa said. “We want to make sure the title reflects what they really are.”
In September, the Census released data that identified Camden as the poorest city in the nation in 2011, with the lowest median income ($21,191) of the 555 places surveyed. That was a huge drop from the city’s $28,720 median income in 2010.
“Unfortunately, Camden has suffered from public-safety issues for decades,” city spokesman Robert Corrales said Tuesday in an email.. “The Mayor is working on a comprehensive and holistic approach to improve public safety and the overall quality of life in Camden.”
Redd is committed to replacing the current city police department with a county force that is expected to put more boots on the ground, Corrales said.
(There are no details so far on any agreement between the city, county, and state on how Camden will sustain such a large force, given that 70 percent of its budget comes from Trenton.)
Redd also is working on initiatives to deal with crime prevention, reentry into the community following incarceration and job creation, Corrales said.