Police Chief: Camden's People 'Victimized At Third-World Rates' - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Camden's People 'Victimized At Third-World Country Rates,' Police Chief Says

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CAMDEN, N.J. -

One of America's most dangerous cities is now laying off its entire police force.

Camden officials say union contracts are filled with massive benefits the city just cannot afford anymore.

Scott Thomson, the city's police chief, spoke Tuesday morning about the decision with Fox News Channel anchor Steve Doocy.

"At this point the people of Camden want to know are we going to be safe with a new force?" Doocy asked.

"Well, we're going to be much safer than we are now," Thomson said. "Last night we had our 65th murder. And, to put things in perspective, if we were New York City, that would be 7,000 murders thus far this year. The status quo can no longer remain. You know, we need to take every effort we can to double the number of cops we have on the street."

Doocy said, "You've got a terrible problem right now where there are a lot of cops on the beat but a lot of them, for one reason or another, don't show up day-to-day?

"We battle with a 30-percent daily absentee rate," Thomson said.

The police chief later added, "The status quo can't remain. Our citizens are being victimized at third-world country rates right now. My murder rate per 100,000 – in the United States of America it's 4.2 per 100,000 – right now, with our last murder, that puts us at 84 per 100,000, that's the equivalent of Honduras. So, I mean, there is a moral responsibility to address this issue."

The president of Camden's police union released a statement. He says, in part, that all of the other administrations understood the fact that they are working in some of the poorest and most dangerous conditions in the country.

He also says he's willing to sit down with the city to come up with a plan avoiding the layoffs.

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