In The City – Feb. 2019


Public Safety In Wilmington Improves In 2018

Gun crime down for first time in more than 15 years

Mayor Mike Purzycki and Police Chief Robert Tracy issued a 2018 year-end report on the City’s vastly improving crime trends, and both officials are encouraged by the significant drop in gun-related crime. At the same time, they said the WPD is committed to continuing and strengthening community-police partnerships to further reduce crime in 2019 and beyond.

Chief Tracy said the WPD’s reliance on community engagement, intelligence-led policing, directed patrols and the Compstat crime analysis system has served the City well. The Mayor and Chief congratulated the men and women of the Department for embracing departmental reforms and for their dedication to duty. Mayor Purzycki and Chief Tracy also thanked citizens who are interacting with officers to prevent crime, help apprehend perpetrators, and lower the City’s crime rates.

According to the WPD’s 2018 Compstat report, shooting incidents have decreased to a level not seen in Wilmington in more than 15 years. When compared to the average number of shooting incidents from 2003 through 2017 (108), the 72 shooting incidents in 2018 represent a 33% decrease over the 15-year period average.

Other 2018 year-end crime statistics include:

• A 41% decrease in gun homicides: 19 in 2018 vs. 32 in 2017.

• A 62% homicide clearance rate in 2018, vs. a 33% rate in 2017, an improvement of 88%.

92 fewer shooting incidents in 2018, a 56% decrease over 2017.

115 fewer people shot in 2018—79 in 2018 vs. 194 in 2017, a 59% decrease

• A 6% reduction in total crime in 2018 vs. 2017 taking into account the Part One crime categories of murder, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, and theft.

• A 30% decrease in citizen complaints filed against the WPD in 2018.

• The establishment in 2018 of a Crime/Gun Intelligence Center (CGIC) by the Fed. Division of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) within the WPD’s Real Time Crime Center (RTCC) to assist the Wilmington and New Castle Co. Police Departments with enhanced evidence testing processes.

“We’ve had confidence in Chief Tracy since day one, and everything he told us would happen with regard to a new approach to policing in Wilmington has occurred,” said Mayor Purzycki. “The most gratifying reform is the increased level of community engagement that we see each day between residents and police officers – a welcome change that guides the operations of the Department and contributes in a large way to its current successes. It would not happen if community engagement were not a top priority of the Chief and the men and women of the Department. The Chief has earned our City’s support and our gratitude for helping to save lives and keep our communities safer.”

Chief Tracy encouraged citizens to track crime statistics numbers on a regular basis by reviewing the WPD’s CompStat reports, published on the City’s website at


City Mourns Loss of Three Dedicated Public Servants

Patrick Carter (1959-2018), who died on December 27, 2018, served as Finance Director for the Purzycki Administration since January 2017. He had a distinguished 29-year career in assisting the City of Wilmington and the State of Delaware in managing its finances, including a previous stint as City Finance Director from 1989-1993.

“Patrick was one my first administration appointees,” said Mayor Purzycki. “I needed, and the City needed, his experience and knowledge. Patrick served our government and our citizens extremely well. I will be forever grateful to have had his skill and guidance available to us as we maneuvered through various fiscal issues over the past two years. I will miss Pat, his colleagues will miss him, and the citizens of Wilmington will miss his professionalism and dedication to public service,” the Mayor continued.

The City also lost two former public safety officials in January. Retired Wilmington Fire Chief James P. Blackburn (1930-2019) died on Saturday, January 5, 2019, and retired Wilmington Police Inspector Gilbert R. Howell (1951-2019) died on Thursday, January 10, 2019. Mayor Purzycki  said both men were highly respected by their colleagues and City residents. “Chief Blackburn and Inspector Howell served the citizens of Wilmington with distinction for many years, and our thoughts go out to their families,” said the Mayor.

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