The Lost City of Camden

You’ve seen the reports, “Poorest cities in America” or “Most dangerous American cities”, but one city consistently ranks high on them all. Camden, New Jersey is a city in crisis that may only barely qualify as a part of civilization.

The 2011 census reported that nearly half the population exists in poverty. There are reportedly over 150 open-air markets selling drugs strewn throughout the city. The high school graduation rate was just under 50% in 2012, and that is not due to funds, as nearly $20,000 was spent for each student. Some cite a lack of basic reading skills and a lack of proper nutrition as likely contributing factors.

Surrounded by prosperous suburbs in a state that is among the richest, one might wonder how the city fell into its current woes. Camden, like many other cities, suffered heavily after the Second World War It simply did not have enough industry left to fill the gap after the war machine was no longer needed and it began a steady collapse.

It can certainly be said that the leadership of the city in the past thirty years is probably in part to blame as well, as there have been several problems with corruption, sometimes even at the top. Bribery, racketeering, the laundering of money, and fraud has seen 3 of the cities previous mayors charged and convicted.

Thankfully, gains have recently been made at least in the crime department with the phasing out of the local police and the stepping in of county law enforcement. They have been equipped with some of the most up-to-date technology to serve them in attempting to take back the city.

Source: NBC News