Chief On Violent Crime, “We Haven’t Seen These Numbers This Low In Almost Nine Years”

Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki and Chief of Police Robert J. Tracy today issued a cautiously optimistic report on improving crime trends in Wilmington. Based on crime data for January 1, 2018 through May 7, and 2018 versus 2017 year-to-date statistics, the Mayor and Chief say shooting incidents in Wilmington are at a level not seen in almost a decade.

Mayor Purzycki said when Chief Tracy was hired on April 14, 2017, the Chief expressed optimism at that time that his policing reforms would begin to produce lower crime numbers at about the one year mark, if not sooner. “Neither the Chief nor I know whether these improving numbers will continue throughout the year,” said Mayor Purzycki. “But it is encouraging to know that the WPD’s new emphasis on community engagement, intelligence-led policing, directed patrols and instituting the CompStat methodology are producing better results than we have seen in the past few years.”

Chief Tracy said there have been six gun homicides so far this year compared to 16 as of this date last year. Overall, there have been nine homicides in 2018, with three being non-shooting related but domestic in nature. Six of the nine homicides occurred inside residences while only three happened on City streets. The Chief said shooting incidents have dropped 61% over last year, or 25 incidents this year versus 64 in 2017. There have been 43 fewer shooting victims so far this year—27 this year versus 70 in 2017—for a 61% reduction. Including all categories— murder, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, theft and auto theft—crime in Wilmington in 2018 is down 8% thus far over 2017.

“The men and woman of the WPD have responded well to a redefined command structure and different policing techniques that, when combined, are beginning to change the culture of the Department and its approach to policing in Wilmington,” said Chief Tracy. “We operate every day as though our most important asset is the community. We’ve worked hard to win the trust of citizens and to keep that trust. We will continue to actively seek their assistance in curbing crime, which we feel is a huge factor as to why crime trends are moving in the right direction.”

Mayor Purzycki said one of the more encouraging crime statistics he has reviewed in recent weeks is how the decrease in the year-to-date 2018 violent crime incidents compares to similar periods during the years 2008 through 2017. The Mayor and Chief said today that because there were an unusually high number of shootings in 2017, it is important to compare 2018’s current shooting incident numbers to previous year stats as of May 7. Year-to-date numbers from 2018 versus the same dates from 2008 through 2017 show shooting incidents trending downward by an average of 35%.

Chief Tracy today reminded citizens that they can track the crime numbers for all of Wilmington and particular neighborhoods on a regular basis by reviewing the WPD’s CompStat reports which are published on the City’s website at The WDP’s latest Compstat report is being released as part of today’s news announcement.

Source: Mayor’s Office

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