Atlantic City, a popular casino and entertainment destination, attracts nearly 30 million visitors annually. Despite its wide array of amenities, including restaurants, hotels, and casinos, the city has been experiencing a rise in crime, particularly violent crimes and homicides.

According to a report by the Press of Atlantic City, the city’s police union, led by Jules Schwenger, has called for an increase in the number of police officers to address the surge in criminal activities. Schwenger disclosed that in the first week of 2024 alone, there were already 4 homicides, compared to a total of 7 homicides in the entire year of 2023.

Schwenger proposed the appointment of part-time officers to full-time positions as a means to bolster the police force. She emphasized the urgency of the situation, noting that there are approximately 35 officers who could transition to full-time roles and warning that delays in addressing the shortage could lead to officers seeking employment elsewhere.

Currently, the Atlantic City Police Department has 291 officers, a number that falls significantly short of the peak of 400 officers. While Schwenger does not anticipate reaching the previous high, she stressed the importance of having adequate police presence on the streets.

In response to the union’s plea for more officers, Mayor Marty Small Sr. expressed disagreement, accusing the police union of politicizing the issue. However, the city’s police chief, James A. Sarkos, has shown support for the idea of increasing the number of security cameras in the city. He proposed adding 1,000 devices to the existing 3,000 cameras, emphasizing the potential for enhanced public safety.

The debate over the best approach to curbing the rising crime rates in Atlantic City continues, with discussions revolving around the need for more police officers and the potential benefits of expanding the surveillance camera network. As the city grapples with these challenges, the focus remains on finding effective strategies to ensure the safety and security of residents and visitors.

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