Camden, New Jersey, was America’s second most dangerous city in 2010, and its most dangerous in 2009, according to one annual study, and its median income of $26,752 is within the margin of error for the nation’s lowest. Yet the city today began laying off 167 of its 373 police officers, as hopes of a last-minute deal collapsed. Daniel Denvir profiles the troubled city for Salon.
“It’s going to be a hard lift. We’re going to prepare for the worst,” says one county prosecutor. The Fraternal Order of Police took out a full-page ad warning that the city would become a “living hell.” The problem: Camden’s local taxes pay for just $21 million of its $139 million budget. Much of the rest comes from state aid—which Chris Christie cut drastically when he refused to raise taxes on New Jersey millionaires. For more on the sad state of the city, click here. (Read more Camden, NJ stories.)