Mayor Williams Highlights Progress on Fighting Crime in Wilmington

Posted on  07/08/2013 2:41 pm

Today, Wilmington Chief of Police Chief Christine R. Dunning released a comprehensive statistical report showing that the overall crime rate in the city is down 24 percent for the first six months of 2013 (January 8th – June 30th), when compared to the same period for 2012. Most importantly, the statistics reveal that the number of homicides in Wilmington has been cut in half.

Read the Wilmington Police Department's Six Month Crime Statistics

According to the data maintained by the State of Delaware, Wilmington saw a drop in each of the three areas that cover all of the major criminal offenses. More specifically, the city experienced a 12 percent decrease in Part I Offenses, which includes violent crimes such as murder/manslaughter, rape, and aggravated assault. Part II Offenses, which are made up of other assaults, receiving stolen property, and sex offenses, saw an overall 28 percent decrease, while Part III Offenses dropped by 44 percent. Every measured category of Part II and Part III Offenses show a decline when compared to the first six months of 2012.

"Public safety is my top priority, and while there is still plenty of work to do, we are making real progress,” said Mayor Williams. “As much as reducing crime in Wilmington is about aggressive policing tactics, it is equally about building up our neighborhoods and creating more opportunities for young people. I am committed to attacking this problem from all angles."

In February of 2013, the Williams Administration introduced a public safety plan aimed at creating safe and strong neighborhoods. Part of the plan called for building strategic relationships with other local, state and federal criminal justice agencies.

“We are aggressively addressing crime through a coordinated multi-jurisdictional approach that includes law enforcement involvement from local, state and federal levels,” said Chief Dunning.

The policing plan also called for greater visibility of uniformed police officers in city neighborhoods. In order to achieve this goal, officers were reassigned into the Patrol Division from specialized units and high crime areas were saturated with patrol units. This increased presence of officers in communities is already fostering better relationships between the police and city residents.

“Mayor Williams’ team is serious about partnering with Wilmington residents to elevate the safety level for all,” said Tom Reis of the 8th District. “The added police presence displays an ‘unwelcome’ sign to those contemplating criminal behavior, and that is a good thing.”

Cooperation from the community with the police department resulted in multiple arrests throughout the City, including one incident where residents in Browntown reported neighborhood drug activity to the police. Another example of community engagement occurred in West Center City where residents reported open-air drug sales. Both incidents resulted in arrests and confiscation of drugs. Community residents notice the cooperation and increased police presence.

“We are more effective in what we do when have the community working with us,” added Dunning.

Building strong neighborhoods and the development of young people are at the center of Mayor Williams’ vision for a clean, safe and smart city. The Administration launched its effort to engage and empower residents through a series of Town Hall Meetings held in neighborhoods across the city. As follow up, the Administration held a Housing Summit to encourage collaboration among developers, non-profits and other housing agencies to address vacant housing, homeownership and neighborhood revitalization; and organized a Citywide Community Projects Day to foster a sense of neighborhood pride and ownership.

The investment in Wilmington’s youth is being addressed through a variety of targeted initiatives that include youth employment aimed at providing job opportunities based on academic achievement and financial need; the Summer in the Parks initiative aimed at providing artistic and culturally enriching activities in City parks; and the scholarship and internship opportunities aimed a recognizing academic achievement and promoting career development, to name a few.

Mayor Williams believes that these, along with other educational initiatives, will engage youth in a way that not only deters them from criminal activity, but also encourages them to value achievement.

“In six months, the systems are in place and beginning to show results. We are on the right track,” said Mayor Williams.