Nation’s most dangerous small city rehires police

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Camden, New Jersey, the nation’s most crime-ridden small city, on Friday welcomed back 55 police officers and 31 firefighters laid off in January because of lack of funding.

Mayor Dana Redd was able to rehire the 86 public safety workers after receiving $2.5 million in state and federal funds.

“I fully expect that all boots will hit the ground and that their presence will be known and felt throughout our neighborhoods and business districts,” Mayor Redd said in the statement.

In the months since the officers received their pink slips, Camden has experienced a slight increase in crime but it could not be directly tied to the layoffs, mayoral spokesman Robert Corrales told Reuters. There was no change in reported damages caused by fires, he said.

The state and federal funds came in the wake of the city’s failed effort to win concessions from union leaders and the defeat of the mayor’s budget, which would have restored even more public safety personnel, officials said.

“Our commitment to Camden and the public safety of our residents should send a clear message to the criminals looking to deteriorate our quality of life. we will not give up and we will fight for our great city,” Redd said in the statement.

Redd thanked New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and the Federal Emergency Management Agency for securing the funds.

“With these additional state and federal funds, the city will now have 20 percent more police officers patrolling the streets and nearly the same number of firefighters responding to emergencies since the layoffs,” Redd said in the statement.

Camden was ranked as the most dangerous small city in the United States in 2010, according to CQ. The ranking took into account murder, rape, robbery, burglary and motor vehicle theft data.

(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Greg McCune)

Nation’s most dangerous small city rehires police