Mayor Purzycki and Police Chief Tracy Release 2019 Crime Stats
Crime Trends Downward for Another Year as WPD Continues to Implement New Policing Strategies and Strengthen Community Relations
Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki and Police Chief Robert J. Tracy today issued the official 2019 year-end report on policing and crime in Wilmington. The statistics reveal a continued reduction in overall crime trends. According to the WPD’s 2019 year-end Citywide CompStat Report, overall crime in 2019 was down 3% from 2018 across all categories of murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, theft, and auto theft. The 2019 totals represent an 11% decrease in overall crime from 2017 and a 22% decrease from 2016.
The Mayor and Chief expressed concerns that the number of shooting incidents and shooting victims increased in 2019, but noted that even with these increases, gun-related crime is still trending downward over recent years. They vowed to continue to take steps to further reduce gun violence and remove more illegal guns from the streets.
Year-end numbers related to crime that occurred using guns include:
- A total of 89 shooting incidents, reflecting an increase from the 72 incidents in 2018 but a 46% decrease compared with 2017 and a 29% decrease compared with 2016
- A total of 112 shooting victims, reflecting an increase from the 79 victims in 2018 but a continued reduction from years past—a 42% reduction from 2017 and a 20% reduction compared with 2016
“Even with some increases in 2019, and after significant crime reductions in 2018, the Wilmington Police Department has seen another year of sustained overall progress,” said Chief Tracy, “and we are entering 2020 with a continued commitment to further drive down crime and leverage our resources and crime strategies to continue to enhance public safety in Wilmington.” The Chief said the WPD continues to embrace several proven crime control strategies, including:
- Integrating community engagement efforts into every facet of policing
- Assigning the same officers to the same neighborhoods each time they report for duty
- Leveraging and sharing intelligence throughout the department’s divisions and units
- Integrating CompStat methodology into the management of the department
“These innovative crime strategies have fundamentally changed how we protect and serve the people of Wilmington,” said Chief Tracy. “I commend my officers for embracing and adopting these changes, and I thank the public for the support for our agency and its goals on a daily basis.”
Notable progress in 2019 crime results also include:
- A 9% decrease in robbery incidents compared with 2018; that reduction also reflects an 18% drop from 2017, and a 27% drop from 2016
- A 9% decrease in aggravated assault incidents compared with 2018; that reduction reflects an 8% drop from 2017 and an 18% drop from 2016
- A 9% decrease in felony theft compared with 2018; that reduction reflects a 10% reduction from 2017 and 11% from 2016
- A 6% decrease in misdemeanor theft – a category that includes theft from vehicles and package thefts from residences – from 2018
The WPD today also released year-end clearance rates. In 2019, the WPD had a 67% homicide clearance rate – surpassing the department’s 62% clearance rate in 2018. The results from both years surpass the national clearance rate average. Chief Tracy credits continued community engagement efforts and strengthened relationships in neighborhoods as playing a significant role in the improving clearance rate. He said the community is contributing to the success of investigators who are clearing cases and holding offenders accountable.
Chief Tracy also used the occasion of the release of the year-end crime report to emphasize the WPD’s implementation of innovative crime strategies and initiatives aimed at reducing gun violence. These include:
- The establishment of a Crime/Gun Intelligence Center (CGIC) within the WPD’s Real Time Crime Center (RTCC); operated with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the CGIC assists the Wilmington and New Castle County Police Departments with enhanced evidence testing processes that reduce the amount of time it takes to send results back to the respective agencies
- The implementation of Group Violence Intervention, and the coordination of efforts between police, prosecutors, social service providers and government officials; this research-based strategy identifies individuals with the highest propensity for violence in order to redirect their behaviors away from violence
Finally, Chief Tracy underscored the importance of community engagement to every layer of policing within the WPD. “Since I was fortunate enough to be appointed Chief of this department in 2017, I have said that our most important asset is the community,” said the Chief. “Our strengthened relationships with the community, and the fairness and respect that are central to how we conduct ourselves as police officers, continue to drive down crime, increase clearance rates, and make Wilmington a safer community.”
Mayor Purzycki and Chief Tracy encouraged the public to continue to follow the Wilmington Police Department on social media – on Facebook, @WilmingtonPolice; on Twitter, @WPDPIO – and to visit www.CrimeMapping.com to see crime data, updated daily, throughout the city. The public also has access to the WPD’s CompStat reports, which are published online and updated weekly here.