Camden may soon be able to rehire some of its laid off public safety personnel. The AP reports that Camden City Council plans to vote this week on a new budget plan that includes a 23% property tax hike that would be used to rehire 47 of the 168 police officers laid off earlier this year. Camden – the second most dangerous city in America – faces a $26.5 million budget shortfall next year.
Locals are not optimistic, the Financial Times reports. “People are already getting jumped left and right because [criminals] know they get away with it,” Stephanie Hahnel, 30, told FT. “It is like a virus and it is going to spread.”
Camden is just one, albeit extreme, example of how massive municipal debt is forcing cities and states to make public safety spending cuts that would have been unthinkable before the recession. In the meantime, New Jersey saw a statewide spike in violent crime last year – the homicide rate was up 13% and police report that gang activity is on the rise.
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