Real Time Crime Center to be complete by May 16, Cummings says
Members of City Council questioned Wilmington Police Chief Bobby Cummings about progress on implementing recommendations from the state’s Wilmington Public Safety Strategies Commission Thursday night.
Among the most significant were the Real Time Crime Center and Community Camera Systems. Cummings anticipates the crime center will be ready to open as early as May 15th or 16th.
Councilwoman Hanifa Shabazz says that’s good news.
"I think it’s going to be a great asset to our police force in trying to get ahead of crime. Police are usually reactionary so this way I hope we can get ahead of it and be more preventive and interventative than always more punitive. So I’m excited about it," Shabazz said.
Cummings says the main part of the center will house a supervisor, two crime analysts, two intelligence personnel, with commanders having access to the area as well.
Work on the community camera room is also underway, but it’s not expected to be completed until January 2017.
The initial 2015 recommendations also included re-assigning increased community police officers to places deemed violent crime hot spots.
Instead – the community policing unit was disbanded. Cummings maintains community policing is a philosophy all officers should be involved in, not limited to a separate unit.
But Councilman Bob Williams is concerned under that approach “warm” areas could become “hot spots.”
"You’re not going to get the resources until it has become the hot spot and then it’s too late. The crime is already there, and folks become frustrated. So what I was asking the chief was how are we going to manage a warm to keep it warm and then anything that’s not even remotely close to being warm – to still get the coverage," Williams said.
Maria Pepe spoke out about just that: her concern for areas like the one in which her parents and brother live getting worse. Her brother Michael Ferretti was held at gunpoint just a couple of days ago.
"It wasn’t forced entry they just walked through the back door, they knocked my dad down, they came into the dining room where I was sitting with a gun in my face, they threatened to kill me. They made me lie down in the living room in front of my mom. My mom and dad are both disabled, neither one of them could really get up and defend themselves or me," Ferretti.
Pepe says officers need to better communicate with residents about what’s happening in their communities
Cummings reassured that they have the technology – through a mapping program called Crime View – to view when areas heat up -- and respond.
He said the program is monitored on a weekly basis.