in Camden, chaos is already here. In September, its last supermarket closed, and the city has been declared a "food desert" by the USDA. The place is literally dying, its population having plummeted from above 120,000 in the Fifties to less than 80,000 today. Thirty percent of the remaining population is under 18, an astonishing number that's 10 to 15 percent higher than any other "very challenged" city, to use the police euphemism. Their home is a city with thousands of abandoned houses but no money to demolish them, leaving whole blocks full of Ninth Ward-style wreckage to gather waste and rats... Over three years, fires raged, violent crime spiked and the murder rate soared so high that on a per-capita basis, it "put us somewhere between Honduras and Somalia," says Police Chief J. Scott Thomson. "They let us run amok," says a tat-covered ex-con and addict named Gigi. "It was like fires, and rain, and babies crying, and dogs barking. It was like Armageddon."Again. Remember, no White folks to blame because White folks don't do Camden. What say you NAACP? Urban League? National Action Network?
With legal business mostly gone, illegal business took hold. Those hundreds of industries have been replaced by about 175 open-air drug markets, through which some quarter of a billion dollars in dope moves every year. But the total municipal tax revenue for this city was about $24 million a year back in 2011 – an insanely low number. The police force alone in Camden costs more than $65 million a year. If you're keeping score at home, that's a little more than $450 a year in local taxes paid per person, if you only count people old enough to file tax returns. That's less than half of the $923 that the average New Jersey resident spends just in sales taxes every year.Remember that post on Detroit I did recently? What did I say about tax revenue? What did I say about how revenue is generated? That's why the title of THAT post was "You Expected What In Detroit?"
. But once Christie assumed office, he announced that "the taxpayers of New Jersey aren't going to pay any more for Camden's excesses." In a sweeping, statewide budget massacre, he cut municipal state aid by $445 million. The new line was, people who paid the taxes were cutting off the people who didn't. In other words: your crime, your problem.It's pretty easy to blame Christie for deciding not to spend other people's money on Camden's problems. Let's even call him racist for doing so. But here's the thing: What exactly is wrong with "your crime, your problem"? No seriously, the people who left Camden left because they didn't want to deal with the rising crime rates. They didn't want to be threatened by it and they certainly didn't want to pay for it. Is that racist? Really? And if such crime rates are limited to Camden and it's residents, then isn't it the responsibility of the residents to fix? And what if outsiders do pay to "clean up" Camden? What if in return for cleaning it up, they, you know, gentrify it? I mean isn't that fair?. If you ask me to pay to fix your problem, that you created, I should be compensated right for my money and effort, no?
After the 2011 layoffs, police went into almost total retreat. Drug dealers cheerfully gave interviews to local reporters while slinging in broad daylight. Some enterprising locals made up T-shirts celebrating the transfer of power from the cops back to the streets: JANUARY 18, 2011 – it's our time. A later design aped the logo of rap pioneers Run-DMC, and "Run-CMD" – "CMD" stands both for "Camden" and "Cash, Money, Drugs" – became the unofficial symbol of the unoccupied city, seen in town on everything from T-shirts to a lovingly rendered piece of wall graffiti on crime-ridden Mount Ephraim Avenue.Drug dealers did what? So when the white folks left the only thing that enterprising black folks could come up with was drug dealing? Hmmmmmmmm. And get on national TV to brag about it? And for all the talk about how racist police who love to kill black men (though police involved shootings of black males accounts for maybe...maybe 1% of all black men shot) need to be restrained, we see in the absence of such "racist" police crime goes through the roof and hits a plane flying over head at cruising altitude? Clearly then the issue of high crime has little to do with "racist" police.
At times in 2011 and 2012, the entire city was patrolled by as few as 12 officers.That's like the number of police in an upscale neighborhood. In a rational world, 12 officers would be too many. But hey, since white folks are essentially absent from Camden, and white folks represent THE cause of everything wrong in black communities, why s there so much crime?
No matter what side of the argument you're on, the upshot of the dramatic change was that Camden would essentially no longer be policing itself, but instead be policed by a force run by its wealthier and whiter neighbors, i.e., the more affluent towns like Cherry Hill and Haddonfield that surround Camden in the county. The reconstituted force included a lot of rehires from the old city force (many of whom had to accept cuts and/or demotions in order to stay employed), but it also attracted a wave of new young hires from across the state, many of them white and from smaller, less adrenaline-filled suburban jurisdictions to the north and east.Oh, so the solution to the problem of black crime is white supervision. Let that sink in for a minute. How do a people, who spend a whole lot of time talking about equality need white supervision in order to behave properly? You don't understand the question? Let me change the scenario. When have you EVER heard of a poor white community with the crime rates of Camden that needed black intervention to get it's crime under control? I'll wait. See this is why Garveyism never took hold. Garveyism required hard work. It was about building a community and nation. Not guilt tripping white people about the obvious stuff they had and continued to do. It was about proving your equality by doing what every other people do: Run their communities end to end. But that requires work. It requires dealing quite harshly with people who want to be fuck ups. That's hard. Now getting access to stuff that other people already built? That's easy. That's why the NAACP, Rainbow Coalition, Urban League and National Action Network can spend time in meetings with Macy's and Barney's rather than meeting with black millionaires on how to finance a massive change in Camden where you can't blame white folks for shit. To paraphrase a poet I know: They stay worshipping the very Satan they created.