Camden, NJ, is worth paying attention to. I haven't been following it too closely, but what I do know (in part due to my colleague John DeCarlo) is very interesting. Then:
In January 2011, the state slashed the budget for the city's police department by nearly 23 percent. The police union was dissolved after half of the uniformed officers were let go. The department - criticized by some as incompetent and ineffective - was then reconstituted as a county-run enterprise. But until new recruits could be brought on, the city suffered under the draconian cuts. There were nights when only 12 officers patrolled the entire nine square miles of the city.And now:
The city - frequently labeled "America's Most Dangerous" - has recorded as of Friday the fewest homicides in a year going back to at least 2010.Of course some people still complain, but haters are always gonna hate.
In addition, during the first six months of 2014, the number of gunshots in the city fell nearly 50 percent over the previous year....
Despite two fatal shootings in quick succession this week, the number of killings is less than half of that two years ago. By Halloween 2012, Camden had buried 55 victims. This time last year, it had 43. As of Oct. 31, the city had seen 24. In 2010, at this point, there were 30.
By civilianizing or outsourcing every job that does not require a gun or a badge, the county-run force bolstered the number of boots on the ground.
Police walking beats are supplemented with "virtual patrols" by civilians, who monitor 120 surveillance cameras bolted to light poles. An additional 40 to 60 private security guards, sporting yellow-and-blue vests, roam the business district, calling in reports to the command center.
Vallejo [California] has struggled for years. Crippled by high pension costs and public-employee salaries, it filed for bankruptcy in 2008. Things didn’t get much better after the city emerged from Chapter 9 in 2011: Crime was bad and the city’s police department was perpetually short-staffed. There were 10 murders in 2010, 14 in 2012, and 24 in 2013.Obviously both cities cannot simply be reflective of some "national trend."