Two months after Camden, N.J., laid off 160 police officers, city prosecutors have released a sobering report showing a dramatic rise in violent crime in the drug-and-crime-ridden city of 80,000 residents, the Associated Press reports.
Aggravated assaults with firearms jumped 259 percent in January and February compared to last year, and violent crime over all is up 19 percent, the Camden County Prosecutor's Office told the Philadelphia Inquirer. Murders and robberies, however, were down for the period.
"I can't tell you we're seeing an increase in crime because of the layoffs," Thomas Garrity Jr., the prosecutor's office investigations chief, told the paper. "I do know we have the perfect storm that includes a sluggish economy, the proliferation of national gangs, and a reduction of police manpower throughout the county."