By David Madden

CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) — Preliminary numbers from the Camden County Police Metro Division suggest that the crime rate continues to drop in the City of Camden since the county took over the police department almost two years ago.

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Murders have dropped by more than half in that period. In 2012 there were 67 homicides, in 2014 just 33.

Camden County freeholder director Lou Cappelli believes attitudes on the street are turning around.

“The residents of Camden City feel as though they can trust our police department,” he tells KYW Newsradio.   “They are able to inform our police officers of potential crimes.  They inform our department about being a witness to crime.”

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Of course, having more officers on the street doesn’t hurt, either.

But Cappelli concedes there’s more work to be done.  The murder rate is still several times above the national average, and he thinks the number of aggravated assaults can also be brought down more.

“This is not ‘mission accomplished,’ ” he says.  “In fact, we are in the process of training additional officers right now that will bring our total to over 400 police officers.”

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