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Outside help coming to fight Wilmington gun violence

Delaware Public Media

The city of Wilmington will get some outside help to address its recent spike in gun violence.


Mayor Mike Purzycki announced Operation Safe Streets – a multi-jurisdictional effort to curb the rash of shootings – will start immediately, focusing on known crime areas.

New Castle County Police and Delaware State Police will be part of the effort – along with the state Justice Department, the Department of Correction's Probation and Parole Division, the U.S. Attorney's Office and the U.S. Marshal's Office.


Purzycki says seeking this assistance is an appropriate response to 18 shootings and 8 homicides since the start of the year.


“I just felt we had to send a very strong signal, both to those who are committing the crimes - as well as to our communities, that we stand firm in our resolve here," said Purzycki. "If it means that we bring in some other jurisdictions to help us for a period of time we’re going to do that."


Purzycki would not discuss how many more officers Operation Safe Streets will involve– but called it a more intense deployment.


"We certainly can't tell everybody where they are going.  That would defeat the purpose," said Purzycki. "As for numbers, I can say it won't be insignificant."


Last week, the new mayor approved more police overtime hours to add increase foot patrols in crime hotspots – and the city expects to add 19 officers to the force when its latest police academy class graduates.


Purzycki says he expects the operation will last until measurable results are seen. 


The mayor met with federal, state and county agencies last week to request the aid.  He says a variety of law enforcement funds are available to help pay for these efforts and the city and its partners will seek them out.


"I think everybody pretty much resolved that the mission was first and how we allocate cost will be second," said Purzycki.  "We'll discuss that as time goes by."

Tom Byrne has been a fixture covering news in Delaware for nearly three decades. He joined Delaware Public Media in 2010 as our first news director and has guided the news team ever since. When he's not covering the news, he can be found reading history or pursuing his love of all things athletic.
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