Violent/property crime at historic low
At a press conference on Jan. 31, Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous reported that in 2016, Wilmington's overall Part 1 crime in Wilmington is the lowest in more than 23 years. Part 1 crimes are classified as violent and property crimes, they include aggravated assault, rape, murder, robbery, arson, burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft.
This is especially significant because since 1993, the number of Part 1 crimes dropped more than 21 percent while Wilmington's population more than doubled.
Below is a transcript of Chief Evangelous' statement.
"Good afternoon and thank you for coming. We are here today to share some exciting news for the citizens of Wilmington as well as the men and women of our agency who have worked tirelessly fighting crime in our community.
"After reviewing the crime numbers for 2016, we are happy to announce that overall Part 1 crime in Wilmington is the lowest it’s been in more than 23 years. Part 1 crimes are classified as violent and property crimes, they include aggravated assault, rape, murder, robbery, arson, burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft.
"In 1993, we reported 6,878 Part 1 crimes in the City of Wilmington. The numbers for 2016 fell below that number to 5,395 Part 1 crimes. Since 2003, we noticed a steady decline in crime, which is significant because our population numbers continued to grow.
"We believe these historic lows are due in part to the hard work of the men and women of the Wilmington Police Department, who protect and serve each of you. And you – our citizens, the eyes and ears of our city. You call 911 and report crime when you see it and for that we remain grateful. You help to make up our growing Neighborhood Watch program.
- We credit our local, state and federal law enforcement partners who work with us each day to fight crime in the region.
- We credit the individuals who work with our intelligence programs and gather critical intel that help us make arrests and alert us to the threat of violence on our streets.
- We credit technology like Shot-spotter, which helps our officers arrive at the scene of shootings within minutes. This provides safety for our officers and helps us to locate suspects in a timely manner.
- We credit social media as well as our local news media. The use of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Text-a-Tip have proven to be quick and effective ways to get our message out to the community and to receive information from you.
- And last but certainly not least, we want to thank our city leaders. Our Mayor, City Council, the City Manager and other city departments have played a vital role in supporting our crime fighting efforts.
- So we say congratulations to everyone for a job well done!
"Where do we go from here? While overall Part 1 crime numbers are historically low, we still have work to do. The number of murders in 2016 increased slightly - from 12 to 15. Of those 15 homicides, 10 were committed with a gun and 8 of those 15 had gang affiliations. We must continue to address gun violence and the gang culture that continues to affect our community. Our city is much safer today than at any time in the past two decades. I am proud of the work we have done in partnership with our community.
"Again, congratulations to everyone for your hard-work and outstanding efforts to reduce crime. We cannot be successful without you. Let’s continue to make our city a safe place to live, work and play."