Camden, New Jersey

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Camden, New Jersey
City
City of Camden
Camden City Hall
Camden City Hall
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.
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
Census Bureau map of Camden, New Jersey
Country  United States of America
State  New Jersey
County Camden
Settled 1626
Incorporated February 13, 1828
Government[5]
 • Type Faulkner Act (Mayor-Council)
 • Mayor Dana Redd (term ends December 31, 2013)[2]
 • Administrator Christine T. J. Tucker[3]
 • Clerk Luis Pastoriza[4]
Area[6]
 • Total 10.341 sq mi (26.784 km2)
 • Land 8.921 sq mi (23.106 km2)
 • Water 1.420 sq mi (3.677 km2)  13.73%
Area rank 208th of 566 in state
7th of 37 in county[6]
Elevation[7] 16 ft (5 m)
Population (2010 Census)[8][9][10][11]
 • Total 77,344
 • Estimate (2013[12]) 76,903
 • Rank 12th of 566 in state
1st of 37 in county[13]
 • Density 8,669.6/sq mi (3,347.4/km2)
 • Density rank 42nd of 566 in state
2nd of 37 in county[13]
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (EDT) (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 08100-08105[14][15]
Area code(s) 856[16]
FIPS code 3400710000[17][6][18]
GNIS feature ID 0885177[19][6]
Website www.ci.camden.nj.us

Camden is a city in Camden County, New Jersey, United States. It is the county seat,[20][21] located across the Delaware River from Philadelphia. As of the 2010 United States Census the city had a total population of 77,344,[8][10][11] 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.[22] Camden ranked as the 12th-most populous municipality in the state in 2010 after having been ranked 10th in 2000.[9]

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.[23]

Although once a thriving center for manufacturing and industry, Camden is perhaps best known for its struggles with urban decay and political corruption.

Three Camden mayors have been jailed for corruption, the most recent being Milton Milan in 2000.[24] From 2005 to 2012, the school system and police department were operated by the state of New Jersey.

Camden public schools spent $23,770 per student ($19,118 on a budgetary per-pupil basis) in the 2009–10 school year[25] In 2012, the city's graduation rate fell to 49%, well below the state average of 86%[26] and the national average of 93%.[27] In 2012, 3 out of 882 SAT test-takers were scored "college-ready." [28] Two out of every five residents are below the national poverty line.[29]

Camden had the highest crime rate in the United States in 2012, with 2,566 violent crimes for every 100,000 people,[30] which is 560% higher than the national average of 387 violent crimes per 100K citizens.[31]

History[edit]

Early history[edit]

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.[32]

19th century[edit]

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.[33]

Walt Whitman House, Camden, New Jersey

Horse ferries, or team boats served Camden in the early 1800s. They stopped for an hour at lunch time to feed the horses.[34] The Ridgeway was a double team boat, propelled by nine horses walking around a circle. She ran from the foot of Cooper Street. There was also a team boat named the Washington; she ran from Market Street, Camden, to Market Street, Philadelphia. Other team boats followed in succession, namely the Phoenix, Constitution, Moses Lancaster, and Independence.[35] The Cooper's Ferry Daybook, 1819-1824, documenting Camden's Point Pleasant Teamboat, survives to this day.[36]

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.[37]

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[edit]

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.[38] 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.[39]

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.[40] 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.[41] 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.[42] 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.[43]

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.[44] 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".[45]

On June 6, 1933, the city hosted the first drive-in movie.[46][47]

Second half of the 20th century[edit]

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.[48]

Rutgers University absorbed the former College of South Jersey to create Rutgers University-Camden in 1950.[49]

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.[50]

The Camden 28 were a group of 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.[51]

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.[52]

In 1999, Camden was selected as the location for the USS New Jersey (BB-62).[53]

In response to the upcoming 2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia, various strip clubs, hotels, and other businesses along Admiral Wilson Boulevard were torn down in 1999, and a park that once existed along the road was replenished.[54]

In 2004, conversion of the RCA Nipper Building to The Victor, an upscale condo building was completed.[55]

Geography[edit]

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 was land and 1.420 square miles (3.677 km2) of it (13.73%) was water.[56][6]

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.' first federally funded planned community for working class residents, Yorkship Village (now called Fairview).[57] The village was designed by Electus Darwin Litchfield, who was influenced by the "garden city" developments popular in England at the time.[58]

Neighborhoods[edit]

Camden has more than 20 generally recognized neighborhoods:[59][60][61]

Port[edit]

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.[62]

In 2005, the Port of Camden (South Jersey Port Corporation) was subject to an unresolved criminal investigation[63] and a state audit.[64] Some activities in the port are under the jurisdiction of the Delaware River Port Authority.

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 3,371
1850 9,479 181.2%
1860 14,358 51.5%
1870 20,045 39.6%
1880 41,659 107.8%
1890 58,313 40.0%
1900 75,935 30.2%
1910 94,538 24.5%
1920 116,309 23.0%
1930 118,700 2.1%
1940 117,536 −1.0%
1950 124,555 6.0%
1960 117,159 −5.9%
1970 102,551 −12.5%
1980 84,910 −17.2%
1990 87,492 3.0%
2000 79,318 −9.3%
2010 77,344 −2.5%
Est. 2013 76,903 [12] −0.6%
Population sources: 1840-2000[65][66]
1840-1920[67] 1840[68] 1850-1870[69]
1850[70] 1870[71] 1880-1890[72]
1890-1910[73] 1840-1930[74]
1930-1990[75] 2000[76][77][78] 2010[8][9][10][11]

As of 2006, 52% of the city's residents lived in poverty, one of the highest rates in the nation.[79] 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.[80] 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.[81] A follow-up was shown on November 9, 2007.[82]

In 2011, Camden's unemployment rate was 19.6%, compared with 10.6% in Camden County as a whole.[83] 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.[84]

2010 Census[edit]

At 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 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. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 47.04% (36,379) of the population.[8] The Hispanic population of 36,379 was the tenth-highest of any municipality in New Jersey and the proportion of 47.0% was the state's 16th-highest percentage.[85][86] The Puerto Rican population was 30.7%.[8]

There were 24,475 households, 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.[8]

In the city, 31.0% of the population were 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.[8]

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.[87]

2000 Census[edit]

As of the 2000 United States Census[17] 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.[76][77][78]

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.[76][77][78]

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.[76][77][78]

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.[76][77][78]

In the 2000 Census, 30.85% 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.[88]

Government[edit]

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.[89]

Local government[edit]

Camden's City Hall opened in 1931.

Since July 1, 1961, the city has operated under a Mayor-Council form of government.[5] 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.[90]

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.[24]

As of 2013, the Mayor of Camden is Dana Redd, whose term of office ends December 31, 2013.[91] She is a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition,[92] 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 (2015; Ward 3), Vice President Curtis Jenkins (2013; at large), Dana M. Burley (2015; Ward 1), Brian K. Coleman (2015; Ward 2), Luis A. Lopez (2015; Ward 4), Deborah Person-Polk (2013; at large), William W. Spearman (2015; Ward 2) and Marilyn Torres (2013; at large).[93][94]

Federal, state and county representation[edit]

Camden is located in the 1st Congressional District[95] and is part of New Jersey's 5th state legislative district.[10][96][97]

The seat for New Jersey's First Congressional District is currently vacant, having formerly been represented by Rob Andrews (D, Haddon Heights), who resigned on February 18, 2014.[98] New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate by Cory Booker (D, Newark; took office on October 31, 2013, after winning a special election to fill the seat of Frank Lautenberg)[99][100] and Bob Menendez (D, North Bergen).[101][102]

For the 2014-2015 Session, the 5th Legislative 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).[103] The Governor of New Jersey is Chris Christie (R, Mendham Township).[104] The Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey is Kim Guadagno (R, Monmouth Beach).[105]

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.[106] As of 2013, Camden County's Freeholders are Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli, Jr. (Collingswood, term ends December 31, 2014)[107], Freeholder Deputy Director Edward McDonnell (Pennsauken Township, 2013)[108], Michelle Gentek (Gloucester Township, 2015)[109], Ian K. Leonard (Camden, 2015)[110], Scot N. McCray (Camden, 2014)[111], Jeffrey L. Nash (Cherry Hill, 2015)[112] and Carmen Rodriguez (Merchantville, 2013).[113][114][115] Constitutional officers elected countywide are County Clerk Joseph Ripa,[116] Sheriff Charles H. Billingham[117] and Surrogate Patricia Egan Jones.[118]

Political corruption[edit]

Three Camden mayors have been jailed for corruption: Angelo Errichetti, Arnold Webster, and Milton Milan.[119]

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.[120] The FBI scheme was part of the Abscam operation. The 2013 film American Hustle is a somewhat fictionalized portrayal of this scheme.

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.[121]

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,[122] soliciting bribes and free home renovations from city vendors, skimming money from a political action committee, and laundering drug money.[123]

The Courier-Post dubbed former State Senator Wayne R. Bryant, who represented the 5th state legislative district from 1995 to 2008, the "king of double dipping" for accepting no-show jobs in return for political benefits.[124] In 2009, Bryant 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.[125] 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.[126]

Politics[edit]

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.[127]

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%.[128] 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.[129]

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.[130]

Transportation[edit]

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.[131]

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 and from 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.[132] 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.[133]

RiverLink Ferry is seasonal service across the Delaware River to Penn's Landing in Philadelphia.[134]

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

Fire department[edit]

Camden Fire Department (CFD)
Operational Area
Country United States
State  New Jersey
City Camden
Agency Overview
Established 1869
Annual calls ~10,000
Employees ~200
Facilities & Equipment
Divisions 1
Battalions 2
Stations 6
Engines 5
Ladders 3
Squads 1
Rescues 1
Fireboats 1
HAZMAT 1
EMS Level BLS First Responder
USAR 1

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 CFD was the first in the United States that had an all-motorized fire apparatus fleet.[135][136] Layoffs have forced the city to rely on assistance from volunteer fire companies in surrounding communities when firefighters from all 10 fire companies are unavailable due to calls.[137] The Camden Fire Department currently operates out of six fire stations, located throughout the city in two Battalions, each commanded by a Battalion Chief per shift, in addition to an on-duty Deputy Chief. The CFD also operates a fire apparatus fleet of four Engines (five when manpower permits), three Ladders, one Squad, one Rescue, one special operations / collapse rescue unit (cross-staffed), 1 Haz-Mat. Unit (cross-staffed), a fire boat (cross-staffed), a maintenance unit, and several other special, support, and reserve units. Since 2010, the Camden Fire Department has suffered severe economic cutbacks, including company closures and staffing cuts.[138]

Below is a list of all fire stations and company locations in the city of Camden according to Battalion.

Engine Company Ladder Company Special Unit Chief Battalion Address Neighborhood
Engine 1 Ladder 1 Maintenance Unit Car 1(Chief of Department), Car 2(Assistant Chief), Car 3(Deputy Chief), Car 4(Deputy Chief), Car 5(Fire Marshal) 1 4 N. 3rd St. Center City
Squad 7 2 1115 Kaighns Ave. Whitman Park
Engine 8 Ladder 2 Rescue 1, Rescue 2(Special Ops./Collapse Unit), Haz-Mat. 1 Battalion 1 1 1301 Broadway South Camden
Engine 9 Tower Ladder 3 Battalion 2 2 3 N. 27th St. East Camden
Engine 10 1 2500 Morgan Blvd. South Camden
Engine 11 2 901 N. 27th St. Cramer Hill

Waterfront[edit]

Main article: Camden Waterfront
View of the Camden waterfront from Philadelphia (2005).

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.[139]

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.[140] The aquarium was one of the original centerpieces in Camden's plans for revitalizing their city.[141]

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.[142]

Campbell's Field, opened in 2001, is home to the Camden Riversharks[143] 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 the Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial, that opened in 2001 along the waterfront. The New Jersey saw action during World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and provided support off Lebanon in early 1983.[144]

Other attractions at the Waterfront are the Wiggins Park Riverstage and Marina, One Port Center, The Victor Lofts, the Walt Whitman House,[145] the Walt Whitman Cultural Arts Center, the Rutgers–Camden Center For The Arts and the Camden Children's Garden.

In June 2014 the it was announced that the Philadelphia 76ers would move their practice facility and home offices to the Waterfront.[146][147]

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.[148]

Riverfront State Prison site[edit]

Riverfront State Prison,[149] 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.[150] The prison had a design capacity of 631 inmates, but housed 1,020 in 2007 and 1,017 in 2008.[151] 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.[152] 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.[153]

Economy[edit]

Entrance to Campbell Soup Company headquarters in Camden.

About 45% of employment in Camden is in the "eds and meds" sector, providing educational and medical institutions.[154]

Largest employers[edit]

Urban enterprise zone[edit]

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.[155]

Redevelopment[edit]

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.[156] In June 2012, Campbell Soup Company acquired the vacant Sears building located near its corporate offices.[157] Campbell plans to construct the Gateway Office Park, and razed the Sears building after receiving approval from the city government and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.[157]

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). Cherokee dropped their plans in the face of local opposition and the slumping real estate market.[158][159][160]

Recent projects[edit]

  • Communications plan
  • Adventure Aquarium
  • Campbell's Field baseball park
  • Ferry Terminal Building
  • L-3 Communications headquarters
  • Rutgers University Dorms (Cooper Street)
  • One Port Center
  • Radio Lofts (in progress)
  • Susquehanna Bank Center (formerly known as the Tweeter Center)
  • Victor Lofts
  • The Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center[161]
  • KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy (Lanning Square, Next to new cooper Medical School)About to begin construction

Education[edit]

Public schools[edit]

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.[162] The district is one of 31 Abbott districts statewide,[163] 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.[164][165]

High schools in the district (with 2010-11 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics)[166] are:

Private education[edit]

Holy Name School, Sacred Heart Grade School, St. Anthony of Padua School, and St. Joseph Pro-Cathedral School are elementary schools that operate under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Camden.[172] They operate as four of the five schools in the Catholic Partnership Schools, a post-parochial model of Urban Catholic Education.[173] The Catholic Partnership Schools are committed to sustaining safe and nurturing schools that inspire and prepare students for rigorous, college preparatory secondary schools or vocations.

Higher education[edit]

View of Rutgers University–Camden with Philadelphia skyline in background in autumn.

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

Libraries[edit]

The city was once home to two Carnegie libraries, the Main Building[179] and the Cooper Library in Johnson Park.[180] 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.[181] The main branch closed in February 2011,[182] and was later reopened in the bottom floor of the Paul Robeson Library at Rutgers University.

In addition to the Paul Robeson Library at Rutgers University, there are academic libraries at Cooper Medical School at Rowan and Camden County College.

Sports[edit]

Club Sport League Venue Logo
Camden Riversharks Baseball Atlantic League of Professional Baseball Campbell's Field Camden Riversharks (logo).jpg

Crime[edit]

Camden
Crime rates (2009)
Crime type Rate*
Homicide: 34
Robbery: 766
Aggravated assault: 1,020
Total Violent crime: 1,880
Burglary: 1,035
Larceny-theft: 2,251
Motor vehicle theft: 649
Arson: 137
Total 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.[183][184] It dropped down to the fifth spot for the 2006 and 2007 rankings but rose to number two in 2008[185][186][187] and to the top spot in 2009.[188] 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.[189] In The Nation, journalist Chris Hedges describes Camden as "the physical refuse of postindustrial America",[190] afflicted by homelessness, drug trafficking, prostitution, robbery, looting, constant violence, and an overwhelmed police force (which in 2011 lost nearly half of its officers to budget-related layoffs).[191]

In 2005, reported homicides in Camden dropped to 34, 15 fewer murders than in 2004.[192] 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.[193] 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.[194]

On October 29, 2012, the FBI announced Camden was ranked first in violent crime per capita of cities with over 50,000 residents, surpassing Flint, Michigan.[195] In December 2012, Camden residents surrendered approximately 1,137 firearms to two local churches over a two-day period.[196]

On May 1, 2013, the police department was disbanded and the newly created Camden County Police Department Metro Division took over full responsibility for policing the city of Camden.[197]

Points of interest[edit]

Notable people[edit]

People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Camden include:

References[edit]

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  199. ^ "Camden boxer Alexander earns draw in debut", Courier-Post, July 23, 2008. Accessed October 22, 2013. "Max Alexander didn't get the victory he so badly sought, but things could have turned out worse for the Camden boxer who was making his debut last weekend as a cruiserweight with a 200-pound weight limit."
  200. ^ Staff. "hail, cabaret, Convention an Up-Close Celebration of Vocal Talent", Philadelphia Daily News, June 6, 2002. Accessed October 22, 2013. "Camden native Christine Andreas first earned her performing stripes as a Broadway musical star - appearing in hit revivals of My Fair Lady, Oklahoma and On Your Toes, and new ventures like Rags, Words and Music and The Scarlet Pimpernel."
  201. ^ Benson, Josh. "A Spoiler Is Lurking South Of Trenton", The New York Times, November 28, 2004. Accessed October 22, 2013. "Just ask Representative Rob Andrews, the hyper-talented son of Camden who ran for governor in 1997 as the anointed champion of the South Jersey Democratic machine."
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  205. ^ Staff. "Eagles sign Camden's Baker", The Times (Trenton), March 12, 2009. Accessed October 22, 2013. "The Eagles yesterday made another move in free agency to bolster their depth in the secondary, signing Camden native Rashad Baker to a one-year contract."
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  207. ^ via Associated Press. "Es-Secret Service Head Dead At 73", Ocala Star-Banner, November 7, 1978. Accessed October 22, 2013. "A native of Camden, Baughman started his Secret Service career as a clerk- stenographer In the Philadelphia office In 1927 and qualified as an agent by going out on investigations to gain experience."
  208. ^ Staff. "MARTIN Y. BERGEN, LAWYER, ATHLETE; Former Football and Baseball Player at Princeton, Famous as Backfield Coach, Dies FAMILY NOTED IN JERSEY Bergen County Named for His Ancestors; Was Attorney for Caruso's Daughter", The New York Times, July 9, 1941. Accessed October 22, 2013. "NBorn in Camden, N. J., he was a descendant of one of New Jersey's oldest families, one for which Bergen County was named."
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  214. ^ Donovin Darius, National Football League. Accessed November 12, 2007.
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  217. ^ Newman, Mark. "Series opens on historic date: Red Sox, Rockies in line to add to Oct. 24 legacy", MLB.com, October 24, 2007. Accessed September 7, 2011. "1950: Rawly Eastwick was born in Camden, N.J. He became a key pitcher for Cincinnati's Big Red Machine, pitching five games in the 1975 World Series and winning Games 2 and 3 on his way to a second ring."
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  233. ^ Dettloff, William. "Camden Buzzsaw tore through competition in the ring as well as the streets; While his contemporaries were fine-tuning their skills in the amateur circuit, Dwight Muhammad Qawi was developing his game on the streets of Camden, N.J., writes William Dettloff.", ESPN, June 13, 2008. Accessed October 15, 2012. "Qawi? 'I learned to fight on the streets in Camden [N.J.],' he told ESPN.com."
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  237. ^ Smith, Roberta. "Loud, Proud and Painted; ‘Mickalene Thomas: Origin of the Universe,’ at Brooklyn Museum", The New York Times, September 27, 2012. Accessed October 15, 2012. "But Ms. Thomas, who was born in Camden, N.J., and lives in Brooklyn, has been exhibiting for only six years."
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External links[edit]

Preceded by
Pennsauken Township
Bordering communities
of Philadelphia
Succeeded by
Gloucester City