CAMDEN – Two weeks after the mayors of New Jersey’s three largest cities announced they are going to partner together to fight crime, the mayor of South Jersey’s largest city said that she was willing to work with the northern alliance to fight the same scourge.
“I’m willing to share my experiences with some of the things we’ve done, not just to work with the state, but along with federal partners,” said Camden Mayor Dana Redd, who presides over New Jersey’s 12th largest city, on Monday following the announcement of a $1.1 million federal grant for a Camden youth education and training center.
Redd’s response to the North Jersey anti-crime initiative comes after a July 28 announcement by Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and Paterson Mayor Jose “Joey” Torres that the urban mayoral triumvirate would team up to stem a wave of violent crime. A combined police push will include information-sharing between departments and a more closely unified, cross-jurisdictional crime-fighting effort.
“Camden is in a little bit of a different format because we now have a county police force which is patrolling our city. We’ve taken some bold and courageous moves to put more officers on the streets of Camden and civilianizing jobs that were traditionally performed by law enforcement,” said Redd, Camden’s mayor since 2010, referring to the disbandment of the city’s police department after seven years of state control and the subsequent creation of the regional Camden County Police Department in 2013. “For us, regionalization is the way to go. We know that crime is cross-jurisdictional. In Camden, we attract many suburbanites to purchase [illegal drugs]. There is a supply-and-demand issue that’s going on. We’re looking to stem that tide to keep Camden safer.
“Collaborating with mayors from urban centers, whether it’s Philadelphia, Jersey City, Newark, Trenton – we’re all having the same problems with crime,” Redd added. “If they want to hear about the Camden experience, I’m willing to share best practices, absolutely.”