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'We continue to have work to do': gun violence in Wilmington resurged slightly in 2019

Delaware Public Media

The number of shootings in the state's largest city saw a small resurgence last year. Law enforcement officials still see the city making progress.  


One hundred and twelve people were victims of shootings in the City of Wilmington last year, up 42 percent from the year before. 

Wilmington Police report 89 shooting incidents in the city last year. That’s up 24 percent from the previous year, but still down 46 percent since 2017. The number of youth shooting incidents last year was the highest of all three years.

When Wilmington Police Chief Robert Tracy joined the Department in late 2017, he instituted a policy of increased community engagement, consistent patrol areas for officers and an emphasis on statistics. 

His department boasted a significant decreasein shooting incidents between 2017 and 2018.

“Last year was up just a little bit from a historic 15-year low when it came to violence,” said Tracy. “We’ve just got to build off those things and see what did we miss, what do we gotta do better, and it just shows how much more work we have to do.”  

State Sen. Elizabeth “Tizzy” Lockman, who represents part of the city, says there is evidence of movement in the right direction. She says she is hopeful about strategies such as the Group Violence Intervention project rolled out last year, where officials connect individuals identified as at-risk for violence with social services and community leaders.  

“I think it’s very clear that we continue to have work to do both on the ground in terms of working with individuals who are at-risk of offending in this way, and also looking at the types of policies that we have in place—particularly when it comes to things like straw purchases and the flow of illegal guns into the city," said Lockman.


Tracy says his department has done its first Group Violence Intervention “call-in.”  


Wilmington police reported at least four shooting incidents in the past week.


Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
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