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Report: Early returns for Wilmington Street Team Program shows crime reduction

The Wilmington Street Team Program shows progress in its latest report.

The anti-violence program launched last June in the East Side and Prices Run sections of the city.

The Wilmington Street Team is a group of nonprofits – the Center for Structural Equity, Youth Advocate Programs, and Network Connect – responding to incidents, providing interventions, and conducting community engagement to help decrease crime in their parts of the city.

Wilmington Community Public Safety Initiative Coordinator Debra Mason says this initial progress gives her an idea of where to take the street team from here.

"I have a better idea of what I'm looking for and the comparisons that I need and I think just overall we have a better synergy amongst ourselves so it could only get better from here," said Mason.

The latest report shows the only two police districts to see a decrease in crime were Districts 11 and 13 - the only two in the street team’s coverage areas.

That included decreases in shooting incidents, shooting victims, juvenile shooting incidents, juvenile shooting victims, and theft.

City officials say the report indicates a direct correlation in the increase in community encounters and a decrease in the number of police dispatch calls.

Community encounters include agency referrals following a shooting, providing safe passage to schoolchildren, redirecting teens to prosocial activities, and providing Narcan to the community.

Mason says once the street team reaches one the full year, they’ll have a clearer picture if real progress is being made.

"We're going to be able to have some comparison, but not only that, we're going to be able to look at different types of seasons so to speak, like we'll be able to look at the winter and we'll be able to look at the spring. We started in the summer so that's where we were at, people come out in the summertime, crime goes up. So we'll be able to compare those different seasons and see what is most likely to happen, where do we need to be, what do we need to be doing," said Mason.

The most recent report measured September through December compared to the first report which was from June through August.

Joe brings over 20 years of experience in news and radio to Delaware Public Media and the All Things Considered host position. He joined DPM in November 2019 as a reporter and fill-in ATC host after six years as a reporter and anchor at commercial radio stations in New Castle and Sussex Counties.