Esteban Parra - Delaware Online
Wilmington officials issued a statement Thursday that overall crime trends continue downward in Delaware's largest city.
But a breakdown of the numbers show increases in some of the most violent crimes, including homicides, rapes and shootings.
Overall crime in 2019 was down 3% from 2018 across all categories, according to the department's 2019 year-end CompStat Report. The city also pointed out the count is an 11% drop in overall crime from 2017 – Wilmington's most violent year for gun violence.
But a breakout of the more violent crime in Wilmington, compared to 2018, shows:
The number of people shot rose 42% (shootings of juveniles increased 163%).Rapes increased by 9%.Homicides were up by 5%
The number of homicides the city reported for 2019 differs from databases kept by The News Journal that track killings and shootings.
The newspaper's database recorded 26 homicides Wilmington, including the only fatal police-involved shooting in the city on Aug. 30. The database also includes the March 6 fatal shooting of a Dover man, which police have not ruled as a homicide or not.
"At this time [the shooting] remains under investigation and we are not able to release further details," said David Karas, a police spokesman.
Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki and Police Chief Robert J. Tracy expressed concerns that the number of shooting incidents and shooting victims had increased last year and vowed to take steps to reduce gun violence and remove illegal guns from the streets.
"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," Tracy said in a statement, "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."
Tracy said the department 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," he said. "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."