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State help solves Camden problems only temporarily

New Jersey Gov. Christie Whitman's decision to send 16 state troopers to began patrolling Camden can make a difference - temporarily.

There's no question that Camden, the fifth poorest city in the nation, is in desperate need of help.

Last year Camden recorded more homicides per capita than any other New Jersey municipality. It also reported about 3,600 domestic abuse violence incidents, the most in the state.

Camden Police Chief Bob Pugh says his severely strapped 388-member department could certainly use the state help in conducting drug raids, enforcing alcohol laws, and setting up roadblocks.

When the state police patrolled the city in the past - in 1989 and from 1992-94 - it did make a difference in reducing the violence. But the need to call back the state troopers is evidence that the troopers are only a temporary solution.

There's no question an increased police presence can curb violence. But Camden needs the state and federal funds so it can increase the size and resources of its own department of handle crime.

The city also needs the real long-term solution which comes from increased economic revitalization of the city to bring jobs and hope and lessen the frustration and hopelessness of Camden residents.