Some of you may have heard me mention the city of Camden, NJ, in previous blogs.  Camden (directly across the Delaware River from Philadelphia and about a 10 or 15 minute drive from where I live in Mantua, NJ) is regarded almost without question as one of the most dangerous, poorest, blighted, and decayed cities in the country.  Percentage-wise, Camden has the highest murder rate in the nation in 2012, with 67 murders in a city of only 77,000 people. (Read this article).

Of course, if you’ve read my blog for long, it shouldn’t surprise you that this place intrigues me.  Blight intrigues me.  In addition, Camden has a long and storied history and hasn’t always been so sad and gloomy (it’s still home to Campbell’s Soup’s corporate headquarters).

But seriously folks, listen…you don’t just go into Camden. I am typically pretty fearless, at least when it comes to cities and slums and things of that nature, but I hesitated until today to go into Camden.  Now, yes, there is a “safe”, tourist-friendly area of moderate size that I’ve been to quite a bit, but as far as the residential, murder-capital part of the city…not so much.  And the pictures and videos that I’ve embedded after this won’t really convey the seriousness of what I encountered when I finally braved it and checked it out today.

I’ve seen plenty of slums and ghettos in my day, but this is on another level.  It is like a war-torn ruin on another planet.  If your first reaction is to say something like, “Oh, this looks like such-and-such a neighborhood around here,” then I haven’t done my job.  It is not just a matter of my own experience, but a matter of on-the-record fact: there aren’t a lot of places in this country like Camden, NJ.  I unfortunately did not film or photograph the most striking, jarring aspects of the city, because yes, I admit, I was scared at points.

Check out the video.  Come summer time, I expect to explore the city a bit more thoroughly:

4 Responses to “Camden”

  1. I wish you wouldnt check it out more thoroughly. I worry.

  2. No one called you out while videotaping? It took some balls to catch these images. Very worth it.

    • sethdellinger Says:

      No, nobody did, but I was worried as shit about it! I chose my times and places wisely though, waiting in my car until the fewest people were within sight, and only getting out of the car in open, wide spaces where I could see far in every direction. And thanks!

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