Crime drops with new police force in gritty Camden

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CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) — Crime has dropped in Camden since a new police department rolled into town a year ago, but it remains far more dangerous than most cities.

The New Jersey city near Philadelphia officially disbanded its police department on May 1 and handed patrols over to a new Camden County-run department that promised more officers for the same cost, largely because it could shed provisions of a union contract that officials saw as onerous.

The new department says crime dropped sharply in every category except arson in the first three months of this year, when the new department had enough officers for intense patrols in every neighborhood.

Despite the improvements, residents and police officials say law enforcement alone cannot solve the issues that lead people to turn to drugs and other crime.

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