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In 2014, when New Jersey Governor Chris Christie visited Camden and credited its comeback to historic public-private partnerships, coming together to address Camden’s most pressing challenges. As Governor Christie described, recent public safety, economic, and education reforms as the three pillars upon which Camden is stabilizing and building a competitive 21st century city. These reforms are bolstering neighborhood revival, reducing crime and homicide rates, stimulating significant investment that promises new jobs for existing and future Camden residents, and improving opportunities for Camden’s youth.
As Mayor of Camden City, I strive to ensure that new development initiatives and reforms are not mutually exclusive from comprehensive revitalization efforts. My administration works closely with Governor Christie and Camden County to develop and support cross sectorial partnerships that leverage resources and maximize Camden’s economic and social growth. A year after dynamic collaborations transformed the Camden’s public safety and economic sectors, there multidimensional impacts improving the quality of life within Camden’s communities.
Since the phased implementation of the Camden County Metro Police Department, the city has become a safer place to live, work, visit, and do business. Homicides and nonviolent crimes decreased by almost 50%, shootings are down by 71%, and there are three times more officers walk the beat than with the previous department. Our safer streets encourage, residents, employees, and visitors to take advantage of the more than $5 million in renovations invested into Camden parks and public spaces. Our improved policing model and increased public safety has an impact that can be seen in the neighborhoods, where children play on the streets, in the civic sphere, and in changed perceptions of Camden.
Today, business owners and developers identify Camden as a safer and financially stable city in which to invest. In 2014, Standard & Poor’s increased Camden’s investment rating to BBB+ and assigned the City its best credit rating in 15 years. Restored investor confidence, along with new financial incentives, made available through the Economic Opportunity Act, are attracting large and small businesses back to the city. New companies that recently committed to the city, include the Philadelphia 76ers, Holtec International, Subaru and Lockheed Martin—among many others—are estimated to generate over 2,500 jobs. More jobs will follow. The business investment and new employment opportunities are critical to stabilizing our economy, strengthening our communities, and moreover, creating opportunities for Camden youth.
The city of Camden is committed to working with a myriad of partners to implement education reform that focuses on creating a cradle to career pathway for Camden youth. Programs like the Camden Promise Initiative — a consortium of more than 15 public and private agencies in partnership with the state—are helping to create a comprehensive continuum of services designed to improve the performance of schools and opportunities for students. In addition, our city’s numerous universities remain committed to strengthening their civic engagement programs, enrolling Camden youth, and producing world-class education facilities right in Camden.
These public safety, economic, and education pillars are helping to strengthen and support existing projects throughout Camden’s neighborhoods. It is clear that public, private, and community partners throughout the city are working together to ensure that these projects can better maximize impact for sustainable citywide revitalization. While each project is highlighted individually, they are discussed in the larger context of their partnerships and impacts on Camden’s neighborhoods and residents.
As I look towards the future of Camden, I welcome visionary leaders and partners who are committed to developing projects centered on collaboration and community growth. I welcome those who understand that the sum of these projects is greater than the impact of each one individually. I invite you to learn how you can come together to help us Move Camden Forward—and I invite you to move to our great city.
I am proud to involve the City of Camden in the Live Where You Work (LWYW) program, an initiative program designed to introduce our local work force to a multitude of housing opportunities right here in Camden. The LWYW program offers an excellent opportunity to assist individuals through a number of financial incentives to finally realize the American Dream of homeownership. The program also serves to strengthen the quality of our anchor institutions by shortening their employee’s daily commute and reinforcing the value of their direct involvement in our community. I encourage everyone to live, work, and experience Camden…“A City Invincible.”
Mayor Dana L. Redd