Redd and a cadre of officials, including Police Chief Scott Thomson, marched the seven blocks from Northgate II Park to Pyne Poynt Park on Thursday morning with about 40 neighborhood children in tow.
"I don't want our families being held hostage by the criminal elements," Redd said at a news conference afterward. "We have to be about our talk."
Under the mayor's plan, police and volunteer patrols along neighborhood corridors Sixth and State Streets will be increased to deter drug activity. Residents are being urged to be more vigilant in contacting police.
The rally was met with skepticism from many residents, who watched as city crews that morning cleared the rally route of syringes, the small plastic bags typically used in drug deals, and other trash in the first cleaning effort they said they had seen in a long time.
"The police are here now, but where are they going to be later in the week?" said Bernardo Figueroa Jr., who lives on Sixth Street.
North Camden has a long history with drug activity, but Thomson said police operations there had increased in the last year, not just pushing the dealers out to other neighborhoods but curtailing their operations altogether.
"At one point it was the badlands out here, but we have made significant strides," Thomson said of North Camden. "Displacement is always a concern, but we are seeing a lessening of the offending rate."
Robberies in the neighborhood are down 22 percent from this time last year, with a 15 percent reduction in violent crime, according to police statistics. The overall violent crime rate for the city was down 3 percent for that period.
The consensus among community leaders who attended the rally Thursday was that even though North Camden still struggles with crime, primarily drug-related, conditions are improving.
"I'm beginning to think we might have turned a corner," said Rod Stadler, president of Save Our Waterfront, a North Camden community group.
The Delaware River Port Authority, a key player in the Camden waterfront redevelopment, recently committed to a $3 million rehabilitation of Pyne Poynt Park with construction set to begin in the fall, a Camden County spokesman said.
Contact staff writer James Osborne at 856-779-3876 or firstname.lastname@example.org.