WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

Early optimistic report on Camden, NJ's new police force: Any lessons for Delaware cities?

With two weekend fatal shootings - bringing the total number of slayings in Wilmington to twenty - the city could very well eclipse the record number of 27 homicides in 2010.

Of course, the Williams Administration is just in the early stages of its new crime-fighting strategy, modeled after a strategy which showed some promise in Chicago. (Although the Rahm Emanuel Administration in Chicago is now battling a wave of shootings.)

It may or may not be relevant for Wilmington or Dover, but a much more disadvantaged city up the Delaware River - Camden, New Jersey - is showing early promise with its new police force run by the county.



Posted at 9:34am on September 1, 2014 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Mon, Sep 1, 2014 9:36am
I think Camden may be a more realistic example than Chicago as it's much closer to Wilmington in size.

Mon, Sep 1, 2014 12:01pm
The results sound positive. I remember thinking they were nuts for abandoning the police force in one of the worst crime-ridden cities. However, it looks like it was what the doctor ordered.

It appears that perhaps Wilmington's problem is its own entrenchment... Because the difference in patrolling an area is absolutely whether the citizens trust you or not...

I'll take one example from another field, from the Anwar province of Iraq, where we were making no ground, until Al-Qaeda murdered a 13-year-old for smoking a cigarette, and that was too much for the locals. They pivoted and in a week-and-a-half, Al-Qaeda was gone. They told us where to go...

The problem in Wilmington from what I've caught from the mayor's broadcasts, is that no one wants to tell the police.

There could be multiple reasons.

1) Cops are crooked. If you tell, they tell the crime lords, and you get taken out.

2) Cops are scared. As a foreign occupier. they have only one option, which is intimidation. Unfortunately, that only works when they are present in person, and stops as soon as they go around the corner. People feel safer with the criminals in charge.

3) Cops are lazy. Happens a lot where no matter what one does, the problem is always bigger than one's efforts. They tend to see their job as bringing money home, not making changes to their environment.

4) Poor leadership. If one doesn't get rewarded well with recognition for sticking out his neck for the team, he soon quits doing it.

5) Donuts. Lots and lots of donuts (h/t off to Mike for that one, lol)

After all this time and a change of the police commissioner, it may be time to look at what might really be the problem. Perhaps revamping the Internal Affairs office and hiring outside investigators - who have no loyalty to anyone other than the mayor - might begin to get results... When someone is looking, people step up.

I do like the note that said with police presence on the streets that the fewer homicides all took place inside, thereby reducing the danger to passers-by walking or playing in the neighborhoods..

Second, joining the city with the county, and paying police more for city duty than county duty, could involve all together.

For we know, the heroin epidemic is being spread by kids from the city, riding their buses to suburban schools, and selling to their peers at school who are too young to make the trek into the city to buy... it is a problem involving both city and county departments.

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