These depressing images show how far an American industrial powerhouse has fallen.
Once an east coast centre credited with creating some of the nation’s largest warships, Camden in New Jersey is now a sad shadow of its former self.
The shipyards where 36,000 workers would ply their trade now lie empty, surrounded by thousands of decaying and abandoned homes.
The stench of sewage permeates the run-down streets, which have the second highest crime rates of anywhere across the country.
Of its 70,390 residents, a staggering 40 per cent are out of work, with many having been ‘on the scrapheap’ from the ‘formal economy’ for generations.
The population has plummeted by more than 40 per cent from its 1950 level of 120,000, but there is little hope for those who remain.
City budgets are being slashed, nearly half of the police force has been axed in recent years and the public library system is now almost non-existent.
Deserted streets are now home to prostitutes and drug-pushers, who huddle under the noxious clouds spewed out by a huge rubbish-burning plant.
According to the AroundPhilly blog on Yahoo, one resident said: ‘We don’t have any real policing in Camden. They’re just out here to pick up the bodies.’
It’s a far cry from the city’s heyday, when it was a destination for Italian, German, Polish and Italian immigrants.
Camden, located across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, was originally incorporated as a city in February 1828.
But although once a hive for manufacturing and industry, it is perhaps best known for its struggles with crime.
Three Mayors have been jailed for corruption and two out of every five residents live well below the national poverty line.
[Editor’s Note: According to this website, Camden’s population in 2009 was 45.0 percent black, 43.6 percent Hispanic, and 5.3 percent white. More photos are available at the original article link below.]