Camden Cops Warn Suburbanites at Drug Spots: We See You

Camden Police have sent out letters to 624 car owners, saying they've been videotaped at drug spots

Suburbanites stopping by the drug corners in Camden for a quick bump will not rest easy in their Cherry Hill and Sewell homes tonight. Camden Police have been watching.

Camden Police have been taking video of the 624 cars driving in and out of the drug hot spots in one of the nation's most impoverished cities and now they’re sending each car owner letters saying: We see you.

Ninety percent of the letters were sent to residents in local suburban communities. The majority were sent to people living in Cherry Hill and Sewell, police told the Inquirer.

The letters, which were sent in the last four weeks, are telling owners their vehicles were seen in a high-crime area and that criminal or traffic charges may be filed if an investigation bears out.

"Not only has your vehicle and tag number been recorded, appropriate criminal and/or traffic offenses may be charged if our investigation reveals your vehicle and occupants to be involved in illegal activity," the letter reads.

Police have been using the city’s surveillance network as a fix for the high amount of police layoffs the city has seen in the past year.

But some civil rights experts believe that Camden’s Big Brother tactics are troubling and could get people in trouble just for being in the wrong place.

"People become targets unfairly just because a car was seen at the wrong place at the wrong time,” David Rudovsky, a Philadelphia civil rights and criminal defense lawyer, told the Inquirer.

The $1.8 million camera system has captured people of all ages and socio-economic backgrounds coming to buy heroin, crack and marijuana in Camden.

"It is done in such a heavy-handed way,” Edward Barocas, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, told the Inquirer. “People have the right to visit their family member or doctor even if they are located in a high-crime area."

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