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Grim Vigil Remembers Camden’s Homicide Victims From 2011

Sister Helen Cole lights a candle during a vigil for Camden's homicide victims. (Credit: Pat Loeb)

Sister Helen Cole lights a candle during a vigil for Camden’s homicide victims. (Credit: Pat Loeb)

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By Pat Loeb

CAMDEN, NJ (CBS) – A year-end vigil for all of Camden’s 2011 homicide victims is underway in the city’s Cathedral. Forty-nine people are being remembered over the next three days.

“We honor the life of Curtis…”

Curtis Grimes died as anonymously as he lived. He was found shot to death in an abandoned building, a crime that was never solved.

If not for Sister Helen Cole’s annual remembrance of the year’s homicide victims, all prayer for Grimes might have ended. Even Sister Helen was at a bit of a loss as to what to say, “We know that his life ended too quickly.”

This is the task Sister Helen has taken on each year since 1995, when Camden’s homicide rate hit 60, to give each victim their own hour of prayer.

“We wish we could say there’s no more vigils needed, but unfortunately there continues to be murders in the city each year.”

The number of murders has never again hit 60, but this year saw an increase from 37 to 49. Sister Helen believes the reduction in the number of police and EMT’s is a factor.

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