Camden, New Jersey

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Camden, New Jersey
—  City  —
City of Camden
Motto: In a Dream, I Saw a City Invincible[1]
Map of Camden in Camden County. Inset: Location of Camden County highlighted in the State of New Jersey.
Census Bureau map of Camden, New Jersey
Coordinates: 39°56′12″N 75°06′24″W / 39.936787°N 75.106644°W / 39.936787; -75.106644Coordinates: 39°56′12″N 75°06′24″W / 39.936787°N 75.106644°W / 39.936787; -75.106644
CountryUnited States
StateNew Jersey
CountyCamden
Settled1626
IncorporatedFebruary 13, 1828
Government
 • TypeFaulkner Act (Mayor-Council)
 • MayorDana Redd (term ends December 31, 2013)[2]
 • AdministratorChristine T. J. Tucker[3]
 • ClerkLuis Pastoriza[4]
Area[5]
 • Total10.341 sq mi (26.784 km2)
 • Land8.921 sq mi (23.106 km2)
 • Water1.420 sq mi (3.677 km2)  13.73%
Area rank208th of 566 in state
7th of 37 in county[5]
Elevation[6]16 ft (5 m)
Population (2010 Census)[7][8][9][10]
 • Total77,344
 • Rank12th of 566 in state
1st of 37 in county[11]
 • Density8,669.6/sq mi (3,347.4/km2)
 • Density rank42nd of 566 in state
2nd of 37 in county[11]
Time zoneEastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST)Eastern (EDT) (UTC-4)
ZIP codes08102-08110[12]
Area code(s)856
FIPS code3400710000[13][5][14]
GNIS feature ID0885177[15][5]
Websitehttp://www.ci.camden.nj.us
 
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Camden, New Jersey
—  City  —
City of Camden
Motto: In a Dream, I Saw a City Invincible[1]
Map of Camden in Camden County. Inset: Location of Camden County highlighted in the State of New Jersey.
Census Bureau map of Camden, New Jersey
Coordinates: 39°56′12″N 75°06′24″W / 39.936787°N 75.106644°W / 39.936787; -75.106644Coordinates: 39°56′12″N 75°06′24″W / 39.936787°N 75.106644°W / 39.936787; -75.106644
CountryUnited States
StateNew Jersey
CountyCamden
Settled1626
IncorporatedFebruary 13, 1828
Government
 • TypeFaulkner Act (Mayor-Council)
 • MayorDana Redd (term ends December 31, 2013)[2]
 • AdministratorChristine T. J. Tucker[3]
 • ClerkLuis Pastoriza[4]
Area[5]
 • Total10.341 sq mi (26.784 km2)
 • Land8.921 sq mi (23.106 km2)
 • Water1.420 sq mi (3.677 km2)  13.73%
Area rank208th of 566 in state
7th of 37 in county[5]
Elevation[6]16 ft (5 m)
Population (2010 Census)[7][8][9][10]
 • Total77,344
 • Rank12th of 566 in state
1st of 37 in county[11]
 • Density8,669.6/sq mi (3,347.4/km2)
 • Density rank42nd of 566 in state
2nd of 37 in county[11]
Time zoneEastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST)Eastern (EDT) (UTC-4)
ZIP codes08102-08110[12]
Area code(s)856
FIPS code3400710000[13][5][14]
GNIS feature ID0885177[15][5]
Websitehttp://www.ci.camden.nj.us

Camden is a city in Camden County, New Jersey, United States. It is the county seat,[16][17] located across the Delaware River from Philadelphia. As of the 2010 United States Census the city had a total population of 77,344,[7][9][10] representing a decline of 2,560 (3.2%) from the 79,904 residents enumerated during the 2000 Census, which had in turn declined by 7,588 (8.7%) from the 87,492 counted in the 1990 Census.[18] Camden ranked as the 12th-most populous municipality in the state in 2010 after having been ranked 10th in 2000.[8]

Camden was originally incorporated as a city on February 13, 1828, from portions of the now-defunct Newton Township, while the area was still part of Gloucester County. On March 13, 1844, Camden became part of the newly formed Camden County.[19]

Although once a thriving center for manufacturing and industry, Camden is perhaps best known for its struggles with urban dysfunction. Three Camden mayors have been jailed for corruption, the most recent being Milton Milan in 2000.[20] Since 2005 the school system and police department have been operated by the State of New Jersey; the takeover expired in 2012. In 2008, Camden had the highest crime rate in the U.S. with 2,333 violent crimes per 100,000 people while the national average was 455 per 100,000.[21] Camden public schools spent $23,770 per student ($19,118 on a budgetary per-pupil basis) in the 2009–10 school year[22] and two-thirds of the students graduate. Two out of every five residents are below the national poverty line.[23]

Contents

History

Early history

Fort Nassau (located within the present boundaries of nearby Gloucester City, New Jersey), was built by the Dutch West India Company in 1626, and was the first European attempt to settle the area now occupied by Camden. Initial European activity in the vicinity of present-day Camden occurred along the banks of the Delaware River where the Dutch and the Swedish vied for control of the local fur trade. Europeans continued to settle in and improve the area throughout the 17th century. Much of the growth directly resulted from the success of another Quaker colony across the Delaware River known as Philadelphia, which was founded in 1682 and soon had enough population to attract a brisk trade from West Jersey and Camden. To accommodate the trade across the river, a string of ferries began operation.[24]

19th century

For over 150 years, Camden served as a secondary economic and transportation hub for the Philadelphia area. But that status began to change in the early 19th century. One of the U.S.'s first railroads, the Camden and Amboy Railroad, was chartered in Camden in 1830. The Camden and Amboy Railroad allowed travelers to travel between New York City and Philadelphia via ferry terminals in South Amboy, New Jersey and Camden. The railroad terminated on the Camden waterfront, and passengers were ferried across the Delaware River to their final Philadelphia destination. The Camden and Amboy Railroad opened in 1834 and helped to spur an increase in population and commerce in Camden.[25]

Walt Whitman House, Camden, New Jersey

Originally a suburban town with ferry service to Philadelphia, Camden evolved into its own city, as industry and neighborhoods grew. Camden prospered during strong periods of manufacturing demand and faced distress during periods of economic dislocation.[26]

Remarks from FDR 1944 Camden visit

Like most American cities, Camden suffered from decline in the 20th century as the manufacturing base and many residents moved out to other locations. Currently, government, education, and health care are the three biggest employers in Camden; however, most employees commute to Philadelphia and live in nearby suburbs such as Cherry Hill. Revitalization has occurred along the Camden Waterfront and in the neighborhoods of Cooper Grant, Cramer Hill, and Fairview, with direct access to Philadelphia.

Industrial history

From 1901 through 1929, Camden was headquarters of the Victor Talking Machine Company, and thereafter to its successor RCA Victor, the world's largest manufacturer of phonographs and phonograph records for the first two-thirds of the 20th century.[27] RCA Victor contained one of the first commercial recording studios in the United States, where Enrico Caruso, among others, recorded. General Electric reacquired RCA in 1986.[28]

In 1992, the state of New Jersey under the Florio Administration made an agreement with GE to ensure that GE would not close the Camden site. The state of New Jersey would build a new high tech facility on the site of the old Campbell Soup Company factory and trade these new buildings to GE for the existing old RCA Victor Buildings. Later, the new high tech buildings would be sold to Martin Marietta. In 1994, Martin Marietta merged with Lockheed to become Lockheed Martin. In 1997, Lockheed Martin divested the Camden Plant as part of the birth of L-3 Communications.

The Nipper Building

The famous "Nipper Building" depicting RCA's famous "His Master's Voice" trademark in its tower windows has since been renovated into a luxury apartment building called "The Victor." Building 8 is set to be rehabilitated into luxury condominiums called "Radio Lofts." Both projects are the work of Dranoff Properties, a well known Philadelphia development corporation that has specialized in these types of constructions.[29] Another older building, Victor Building No. 2, is used to this day to house the Camden City Board of Education. Most of the other old RCA Victor buildings have long since been demolished.

From 1899 to 1967, Camden was the home of New York Shipbuilding Corporation, which at its World War II peak was the largest and most productive shipyard in the world.[30] Notable naval vessels built at New York Ship include the ill-fated cruiser USS Indianapolis and the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk. In 1962, the first commercial nuclear-powered ship, the NS Savannah, was launched in Camden.[31] The Fairview Village section of Camden (initially Yorkship Village) was a planned European-style garden village built by the Federal government during World War I to house New York Shipbuilding Corporation workers.[32]

At Camden's peak, 10,000 workers were employed at RCA, while another 40,000 worked at New York Shipbuilding. RCA had 23 out of 25 of its factories inside Camden. Campbell Soup was also a major employer.[33] By 1969, Camden had been losing jobs and residents for a quarter century due in large part to urban decay, highway construction, and racial tensions.[citation needed]

In his book Capital Moves: RCA's Seventy-Year Quest for Cheap Labor, Jefferson Cowie mentions that Camden in the 1920s was known as "the Citadel of Republicanism".[34]

On June 6, 1933, the city hosted the first drive-in movie.[35][36]

Second half of the 20th century

After years of economic and industrial growth, the city of Camden faced years of rising crime and blight. On September 6, 1949, mass murderer Howard Unruh went on a killing spree in his Camden neighborhood in which he killed thirteen people. Unruh, who was convicted and subsequently confined to a state psychiatric facility, died on October 19, 2009.[37]

Sections of downtown were looted and torched after racial riots occurred following the beating and death of a Puerto Rican motorist by city police in August 1971.[38]

The Camden 28 were a group of "Catholic left" anti-Vietnam War activists who, in 1971, planned and executed a raid on the Camden draft board, resulting in a high-profile trial against the activists that was seen by many as a referendum on the Vietnam War in which 17 of the defendants were acquitted by a jury even though they admitted having participated in the break in.[39]

In 1996, Governor of New Jersey Christine Todd Whitman frisked Sherron Rolax, a 16-year-old African-American youth, an event which was captured in an infamous photograph. Rolax alleged his civil rights were violated and sued the state of New Jersey.[40]

Geography

Camden is located at 39°56′12″N 75°06′24″W / 39.936787°N 75.106644°W / 39.936787; -75.106644 (39.936787,-75.106644). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city had a total area of 10.341 square miles (26.784 km2), of which, 8.921 square miles (23.106 km2) of it is land and 1.420 square miles (3.677 km2) of it (13.73%) is water.[41][5]

Camden borders Collingswood, Gloucester City, Haddon Township, Pennsauken Township, and Woodlynne. Just offshore of Camden is Pettys Island, which is part of Pennsauken Township.

Camden contains the U.S.'s first federally funded planned community for working class residents, Yorkship Village (now called Fairview).[42] The village was designed by Electus Darwin Litchfield, who was influenced by the "garden city" developments popular in England at the time.[43]

Neighborhoods

Camden has more than 20 generally recognized neighborhoods:[44][45][46]

Port

Situated on the Delaware River, with access to the Atlantic Ocean, the Port of Camden handles breakbulk and bulk cargo. The port consists of two terminals: the Beckett Street Terminal and the Broadway Terminal. The port receives hundreds of ships moving international and domestic cargo annually.[47]

In 2005, the Port of Camden (South Jersey Port Corporation) was subject to an unresolved criminal investigation[48] and a state audit.[49] Some activities in the port are under the jurisdiction of the Delaware River Port Authority.

Demographics

Historical populations
CensusPop.
18403,371
18509,479181.2%
186014,35851.5%
187020,04539.6%
188041,659107.8%
189058,31340.0%
190075,93530.2%
191094,53824.5%
1920116,30923.0%
1930118,7002.1%
1940117,536−1.0%
1950124,5556.0%
1960117,159−5.9%
1970102,551−12.5%
198084,910−17.2%
199087,4923.0%
200079,318−9.3%
201077,344−2.5%
Est. 201177,283[50]−0.1%
Population sources:
1840[51] 1850-2000[52]
1890-1910[53] 1840-1930[54]
1930-1990[55] 2000[56][57] 2010[7][8][9][10]

2010 Census

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 77,344 people, 24,475 households, and 16,912 families residing in the city. The population density was 8,669.6 inhabitants per square mile (3,347.4 /km2). There were 28,358 housing units at an average density of 3,178.7 per square mile (1,227.3 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 17.59% (13,602) White, 48.07% (37,180) Black or African American, 0.76% (588) Native American, 2.12% (1,637) Asian, 0.06% (48) Pacific Islander, 27.57% (21,323) from other races, and 3.83% (2,966) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 47.04% (36,379) of the population.[7]

There were 24,475 households out of which 37.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 22.3% were married couples living together, 37.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.9% were non-families. 24.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.02 and the average family size was 3.56.[7]

In the city the population was spread out with 31.0% under the age of 18, 13.1% from 18 to 24, 28.0% from 25 to 44, 20.3% from 45 to 64, and 7.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 28.5 years. For every 100 females there were 94.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.0 males.[7]

The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $27,027 (with a margin of error of +/- $912) and the median family income was $29,118 (+/- $1,296). Males had a median income of $27,987 (+/- $1,840) versus $26,624 (+/- $1,155) for females. The per capita income for the city was $12,807 (+/- $429). About 33.5% of families and 36.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 50.3% of those under age 18 and 26.2% of those age 65 or over.[58]

In 2011, Camden's unemployment rate was 19.6%, compared with 10.6% in Camden County as a whole.[59] As of 2009, the unemployment rate in Camden was 19.2%, compared to the 10% overall unemployment rate for Burlington, Camden and Gloucester counties and a rate of 8.4% in Philadelphia and the four surrounding counties in Southeastern Pennsylvania.[60]

2000 Census

As of the 2000 United States Census[13] there were 79,904 people, 24,177 households, and 17,431 families residing in the city. The population density was 9,057.0 people per square mile (3,497.9/km²). There were 29,769 housing units at an average density of 3,374.3 units per square mile (1,303.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 16.84% White, 53.35% African American, 0.54% Native American, 2.45% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 22.83% from other races, and 3.92% from two or more races. 38.82% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.[56][57][61]

There were 24,177 households out of which 42.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 26.1% were married couples living together, 37.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.9% were non-families. 22.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.52 and the average family size was 4.00.[56][57]

In the city, the population is quite young with 34.6% under the age of 18, 12.0% from 18 to 24, 29.5% from 25 to 44, 16.3% from 45 to 64, and 7.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 27 years. For every 100 females there were 94.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.0 males.[56][57]

The median income for a household in the city was $23,421, and the median income for a family was $24,612. Males had a median income of $25,624 versus $21,411 for females. The per capita income for the city is $9,815. 35.5% of the population and 32.8% of families were below the poverty line. 45.5% of those under the age of 18 and 23.8% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.[56][57]

Fifty-two percent of the city's residents lived in poverty in 2006, one of the highest rates in the nation.[62] The city had a median household income of $18,007, the lowest of all U.S. communities with populations of more than 65,000 residents, making it America's poorest city.[63] A group of poor Camden residents were the subject of a 20/20 special on poverty in America broadcast on January 26, 2007, in which Diane Sawyer profiled the lives of three young children growing up in Camden.[64] A follow-up was shown on November 9, 2007.[65]

In the 2000 Census, 28.85% of Camden residents identified themselves as being of Puerto Rican heritage. This was the third-highest proportion of Puerto Ricans in a municipality on the United States mainland, behind only Holyoke, Massachusetts and Hartford, Connecticut, for all communities in which 1,000 or more people listed an ancestry group.[66]

Government

Federal Courthouse in Camden

Camden has historically been a stronghold of the Democratic Party. Voter turnout is very low; approximately 19% of Camden's voting age population participated in the 2005 gubernatorial election.[67]

Local government

Camden's City Hall opened in 1931.

Since July 1, 1961, the city has operated under a Mayor-Council form of government.[68] Under this form of government, the City Council consisted of seven Council members originally all elected at-large. In 1994, the City divided the city into four council districts, instead of electing the entire Council at-large, with a single council member elected from each of the four districts. In 1995, the elections were changed from a partisan election to a non-partisan system.[69]

Mayor Milton Milan was jailed for his connections to organized crime. On June 15, 2001, he was sentenced to serve seven years in prison on 14 counts of corruption, including accepting mob payoffs and concealing a $65,000 loan from a drug kingpin.[20]

As of 2012, Dana Redd is the Mayor of Camden.[70] She is a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition,[71] a bi-partisan group with a stated goal of "making the public safer by getting illegal guns off the streets." The Coalition is co-chaired by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Members of the City Council are Council President Francisco Moran (Ward 3), Vie President Curtis Jenkins (at large), Dana M. Burley (Ward 1), Luis A. Lopez (Ward 4), Deborah Person-Polk (at large), William W. Spearman (Ward 2) and Marilyn Torres (at large).[72]

Federal, state and county representation

Camden is located in the 1st Congressional District[73] and is part of New Jersey's 5th state legislative district.[9][74][75]

New Jersey's First Congressional District is represented by Rob Andrews (D, Haddon Heights).[76] New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate by Frank Lautenberg (D, Cliffside Park) and Bob Menendez (D, Hoboken).

The 5th district of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Donald Norcross (D, Camden) and in the General Assembly by Angel Fuentes (D, Camden) and Gilbert "Whip" Wilson (D, Camden).[77] The Governor of New Jersey is Chris Christie (R, Mendham Township).[78] The Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey is Kim Guadagno (R, Monmouth Beach).[79]

Camden County is governed by a Board of Chosen Freeholders, its seven members elected at-large to three-year terms office on a staggered basis, with two or three seats coming up for election each year.[80] As of 2013, Camden County's Freeholders are Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli, Jr. (Collingswood, term ends December 31, 2014)[81], Freeholder Deputy Director Edward McDonnell (Pennsauken Township, 2013)[82], Michelle Gentek (Gloucester Township, 2015)[83], Ian K. Leonard (Camden, 2015)[84], Scot N. McCray (Camden, 2014)[85], Jeffrey L. Nash (Cherry Hill, 2015)[86] and Carmen Rodriguez (Merchantville, 2013).[87][88][89] Constitutional officers elected countywide are County Clerk Joseph Ripa,[90] Sheriff Charles H. Billingham[91] and Surrogate Patricia Egan Jones.[92]

Political corruption

Three Camden mayors have been jailed for corruption: Angelo Errichetti, Arnold Webster, and Milton Milan. In 1981, Errichetti was convicted with three other individuals for accepting a $50,000 bribe from FBI undercover agents in exchange for helping a non-existent Arab sheikh enter the United States.[93] The FBI scheme was part of the Abscam operation. In 1999, Webster, who was previously the superintendent of Camden City Public Schools, pleaded guilty to illegally paying himself $20,000 in school district funds after he became mayor.[94] In 2000, Milan was sentenced to more than six years in federal prison for accepting payoffs from associates of Philadelphia organized crime boss Ralph Natale,[95] soliciting bribes and free home renovations from city vendors, skimming money from a political-action committee, and laundering drug money.[96]

Former State Senator Wayne R. Bryant, who represented the 5th state legislative district from 1995 to 2008, was referred to as the "king of double dipping" by the Courier-Post for accepting no-show jobs in return for political benefits.[97] In 2009, he was sentenced to four years in federal prison for funneling $10.5 million to the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in exchange for a no-show job and accepting fraudulent jobs to inflate his state pension.[98] In 2010, Bryant was also charged with 22 criminal counts of bribery and fraud for taking $192,000 in false legal fees in exchange for backing redevelopment projects in Camden, Pennsauken Township and the New Jersey Meadowlands between 2004 and 2006.[99]

Politics

As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 43,893 registered voters in Camden, of which 17,403 (39.6%) were registered as Democrats, 885 (2.0%) were registered as Republicans and 25,601 (58.3%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 4 voters registered to other parties.[100]

In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 91.1% of the vote here (22,197 cast), ahead of Republican John McCain, who received around 5.0% (1,213 votes), with 24,374 ballots cast among the city's 46,654 registered voters, for a turnout of 52.2%.[101] In the 2004 presidential election, Democrat John Kerry received 84.4% of the vote here (15,914 ballots cast), outpolling Republican George W. Bush, who received around 12.6% (2,368 votes), with 18,858 ballots cast among the city's 37,765 registered voters, for a turnout percentage of 49.9.[102]

In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Democrat Jon Corzine received 85.6% of the vote here (8,700 ballots cast), ahead of both Republican Chris Christie with 5.9% (604 votes) and Independent Chris Daggett with 0.8% (81 votes), with 10,166 ballots cast among the city's 43,165 registered voters, yielding a 23.6% turnout.[103]

Transportation

The River Line (New Jersey Transit) at Walter Rand - a light rail system connecting Camden to Trenton.

New Jersey Transit's Walter Rand Transportation Center is located at Martin Luther King Boulevard and Broadway. In addition to being a hub for New Jersey Transit (NJT) buses in the Southern Division, Greyhound Lines, the PATCO Speedline and River Line make stops at the station.

The PATCO Speedline offers frequent train service to Philadelphia and the suburbs to the east in Camden County, with stations at City Hall, Broadway (Walter Rand Transportation Center) and Ferry Avenue. The line operates 24 hours a day.

Since its opening in 2004, NJT's River Line has offered light rail service to towns along the Delaware north of Camden, and terminates in Trenton. Camden stations are 36th Street, Walter Rand Transportation Center, Cooper Street-Rutgers University, Aquarium and Entertainment Center.

NJT bus service is available to Philadelphia on the 313, 315, 317, and 318 and various 400 series lines, to Atlantic City is served by the 551 bus. Local service is offered on the 450, 451, 452, 453, and 457 lines.[104] Studies are being conducted to create the Camden-Philadelphia BRT, a bus rapid transit system, with a 2012 plan to develop routes that would cover the 23 miles (37 km) between Winslow Township and Philadelphia with a stop at the Walter Rand Transportation Center.[105]

RiverLink Ferry is seasonal service across the Delaware River to Penn's Landing in Philadelphia.[106]

Interstate 676 and Route 30 runs through Camden to the Benjamin Franklin Bridge on the north side of the city.

Fire Department

Officially organized in 1869, the Camden Fire Department(CFD) is the oldest paid fire department in New Jersey and is among the oldest in the United States. In 1916, the Department was the first in the United States that had an all-motorized fire apparatus fleet.[107][108] The Camden Fire Department currently operates out of 6 Fire Stations, located throughout the city under the command of a Battalion Chief(2 when manpower permits) and a Deputy Chief per shift. The CFD also operates a fire apparatus fleet of 4 Engines(5 when manpower permits), 3 Ladders, 1 Squad, 1 Rescue(Cross-staffed when needed), 1 Haz-Mat. Unit, 1 Special Operations/Collapse Rescue Unit, 1 Fireboat, 1 Maintenance Unit, and several other special, support, and reserve units. In the past two years, the Camden Fire Department has suffered severe economic cutbacks, including company closures and staffing cuts.[109]

The CFD has 200 members with 11 Captains, 2 Battalion commanders, Deputy Chief/Touring Commander and Chief.

Fire station locations and apparatus
Engine CompanyLadder CompanySpecial UnitBattalion ChiefAddressNeighborhood
Engine 1Ladder 1Marine Unit, Maintenance UnitCar 2(Assistant Chief), Car 3(Deputy Chief), Car 4(Deputy Chief)4 N. 3rd StreetCenter City
Squad 71115 Kaighns Ave.Whitman Park
Engine 8(Staffed when manpower permits)Ladder 2Rescue 1, Rescue 2(Special Ops.), Haz-Mat. 1Battalion 11301 BroadwaySouth Camden
Engine 9Tower Ladder 3Battalion 23 N. 27th St.East Camden
Engine 102500 Morgan Blvd.South Camden
Engine 11 (c. 1951)901 N. 27th St.Cramer Hill

Budget and Staffing Cuts

Layoffs have forced the city to rely on assistance from volunteer companies in surrounding communities when firefighters from all eight companies are out on calls. The CFD has been reduced to four Engines (down two, but a 5th engine is in service when manpower permits), three Ladders, one Squad, 1 Rescue, 1 Battalion (down one, but two are available if manpower permits), and one Deputy Chief. The Rescue, if it is needed, is cross-staffed by a Ladder Company, as are any other special units. A 5th Engine is manned when manpower permits. Currently, budget cuts have started to "brown out" one Ladder Company a day.[110]

Waterfront

View of the Camden waterfront from Philadelphia

One of the most popular attractions of Camden is the city's waterfront, along the Delaware River. The waterfront is highlighted by its four main attractions, the USS New Jersey; the Susquehanna Bank Center; Campbell's Field; and the Adventure Aquarium.[111]

The Adventure Aquarium was originally opened in 1992 as the New Jersey State Aquarium at Camden. In 2005, after extensive renovation, the aquarium was reopened under the name Adventure Aquarium.[112] The aquarium was one of the original centerpieces in Camden's plans for revitalizing their city.[113]

The Susquehanna Bank Center (formerly known as the Tweeter Center) is a 25,000-seat open-air concert amphitheater that was opened in 1995 and renamed after a 2008 deal in which the bank would pay $10 million over 15 years for naming rights.[114]

Campbell's Field, opened in 2001, is home to the Camden Riversharks[115] of the independent Atlantic League; and the Rutgers-Camden baseball team.

The USS New Jersey (BB-62) was a U.S. Navy battleship that was intermittently active between the years 1943 and 1991. After its retirement, the ship was turned into a museum along the waterfront that opened in 2001. The New Jersey saw action during World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and provided support off Lebanon in early 1983.[116]

Other attractions at the Waterfront are the Wiggins Park Riverstage and Marina, One Port Center, The Victor Lofts, the Walt Whitman House,[117] the Walt Whitman Cultural Arts Center, the Rutgers-Camden Center For The Arts and the Camden Children's Garden.

The Waterfront is also served by two modes of public transportation. New Jersey Transit serves the Waterfront on its River Line, while people from Philadelphia can commute using the RiverLink Ferry, which connects the Waterfront with Old City Philadelphia.[118]

Riverfront State Prison site

Riverfront State Prison,[119] was a state penitentiary located near downtown Camden north of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, which opened in August 1985 having been constructed at a cost of $31 million.[120] The prison had a design capacity of 631 inmates, but housed 1,020 in 2007 and 1,017 in 2008.[121] The last prisoners were transferred in June 2009 to other locations and the prison was closed and subsequently demolished, with the site expected to be redeveloped by the State of New Jersey, the City of Camden, and private investors.[122] In December 2012 the New Jersey Legislature approved the sale of the 16-acre site considered surplus property for $1 to a "pre-qualified" buyer.[123]

Economy

Entrance to Campbell Soup Company headquarters in Camden.

Largest employers

Urban enterprise zone

Portions of Camden are part of an Urban Enterprise Zone. In addition to other benefits to encourage employment within the Zone, shoppers can take advantage of a reduced 3½% sales tax rate (versus the 7% rate charged statewide) at eligible merchants.[124]

Redevelopment

Camden suffers from unemployment, urban decay, poverty, and many other social issues.

Campbell Soup Company has decided to go forward with a scaled down redevelopment of the area around its corporate headquarters in Camden, including an expanded corporate headquarters.[125] In June 2012, Campbell Soup Company acquired the vacant Sears building located near their corporate offices.[126] Campbell plans to construct the Gateway Office Park, and it has received approval from the city government and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to raze the Sears building.[126]

Cherokee Investment Partners had a plan to redevelop north Camden with 5,000 new homes and a shopping center on 450 acres (1.8 km2).[citation needed] Cherokee dropped their plans in the face of local opposition and the slumping real estate market.[citation needed]

Recent projects

Education

Public schools

Camden's public schools are operated by Camden City Public Schools district. As of the 2009-10 school year, the city's 32 schools served 13,106 students.[127] The district is one of 31 Abbott districts statewide,[128] which are now referred to as "SDA Districts" based on the requirement for the state to cover all costs for school building and renovation projects in these districts under the supervision of the New Jersey Schools Development Authority.[129][130]

High schools in the district (with 2010-11 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics)[131] are:

Private education

Holy Name School, Sacred Heart Grade School, San Miguel School, St. Anthony of Padua School, St. Joseph Pro-Cathedral School are elementary schools that operate under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Camden.[132]

Higher education

View of Rutgers University–Camden with Philadelphia skyline in background

The University District, adjacent to the downtown, is home to the following institutions:

Libraries

The city was once home to two Carnegie libraries, the Main Building[134] and the Cooper Library in Johnson Park.[135] The city's once extensive library system has been beleaguered by financial difficulties and in 2010 it threatened to close, but was incorporated by the county system.[136] The main branch closed in February 2011,[137] and was later reopened in the bottom floor of the Paul Robeson library at Rutgers University.

Sports

ClubSportLeagueVenueLogo
Camden RiversharksBaseballAtlantic League of Professional BaseballCampbell's FieldCamden Riversharks (logo).jpg

Crime

Camden
Crime rates (2009)
Crime typeRate*
Homicide:34
Robbery:766
Aggravated assault:1,020
Violent crime:1,880
Burglary:1,035
Larceny-theft:2,251
Motor vehicle theft:649
Arson:137
Property crime:3,935
Notes
* Number of reported crimes per 100,000 population.
2009 population: 78,980
Source: 2009 FBI UCR Data

Morgan Quitno has ranked Camden in the top ten most dangerous cities in the U.S. since 1998, when they first included cities with populations below 100,000. Camden was ranked the third-most dangerous U.S. city in 2002. Camden was ranked the most dangerous overall in 2004 and 2005.[138][139] It dropped down to the fifth spot for the 2006 and 2007 rankings but rose to number two in 2008[140][141][142] and to the top spot in 2009.[143] Morgan Quitno bases its rankings on crime statistics reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in six categories: murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, and auto theft.[144] In The Nation, journalist Chris Hedges describes Camden as "the physical refuse of postindustrial America",[145] afflicted by homelessness, drug trafficking, prostitution, robbery, looting, constant violence, and an overwhelmed police force (presently facing reduction by half due to budget cuts).[146]

In 2005, reported homicides in Camden dropped to 34, 15 fewer murders than in 2004.[147] Though Camden's murder rate was still much higher than the national average, the reduction in 2005 was a drop of over 30%. In 2006, the number of murders climbed to 40. While murders fell by 10% across New Jersey in 2009, Camden's murder rate declined from 55 in 2008 down to 33, a drop of 40% that was credited to anti-gang efforts and more firearms seizures.[148] Despite significant cuts in the police department due to the city's fiscal difficulties, murders in 2009 and 2010 were both under 40, staying below the peak that had occurred in 2008, and had continued to decline into early 2011. However, in 2012, the city's murder rate spiked and reached 62.[149] On October 29, 2012, the FBI announced Camden is now ranked first in violent crime per capita of cities with over 50,000 residents, surpassing Flint, Michigan.[150]

Following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December 2012, Camden residents surrendered approximately 1,137 firearms to two local churches over a two day period.[151]

Points of interest

Notable people

References

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