Atlantic City is a popular destination with nearly 30 million visitors annually, attracted by its wide array of restaurants, hotels, casinos, and entertainment options along the famous Boardwalk. However, despite the presence of security cameras throughout the city, crime rates are increasing.
The city’s police union, as reported by the Press of Atlantic City, has called for additional officers in response to a significant rise in violent crimes, particularly homicides. Jules Schwenger, president of PBA Local #24, disclosed that in 2023, there were a total of 7 homicides, while in the first week of 2024, there were already 4 recorded homicides. Schwenger proposed the appointment of part-time officers to full-time positions as a means to bolster the number of officers, citing approximately 35 officers who could make the transition. She stressed the urgency of the situation, warning that delays in hiring more officers could lead to current officers seeking employment elsewhere.
With 291 officers currently in the Atlantic City Police Department, according to Schwenger, the president acknowledged that the total number of officers is not expected to return to its peak of 400. Nevertheless, she emphasized the importance of having “boots on the ground” to address the escalating criminal activities. Schwenger also highlighted the need to quickly fill open positions left by officers who are either departing or retiring.
However, Mayor Marty Small Sr. expressed his disagreement with the PBA Local president’s request, criticizing the alleged politicization of shootings and murders by calling for more officers.
In addition to law enforcement efforts, the city also relies on approximately 3,000 security cameras to monitor and deter criminal activities. In light of the surge in criminal incidents, Police Chief James A. Sarkos has voiced support for the addition of 1,000 more security cameras, emphasizing the investment in public safety and the potential impact on reducing crime in Atlantic City.