WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

Brutal hot weekend of shootings in Wilmington

While anchoring news on WDEL Saturday morning, I had already received word of two shootings, plus the arrest of a man in New Jersey for the shooting of that five-year-old girl.

By the end of the weekend, Wilmington Police were investigating a total of five shootings. Revealing: Every single victim had a prior drug or felony conviction. At least, none of them were fatal shootings.

Wilmington city officials still point to crime statistics that overall crime is down 24% for the first half of the year; and homicides reduced by 50%. But just plain shootings rose 22% in the first half of 2013.

I remember then-mayoral candidate Dennis Williams touting how a Williams Administration would tackle the problem of street violence. While such can-do optimism propelled Williams into the mayor's office, as Williams has discovered (or perhaps knew all along), easier said than done.

That said, apart from the risk of a stray bullet hitting an innocent person, most of the violence seems to be confined to violent offenders targeting other violent offenders. That's why it's so difficult for police to solve some of these crimes. Victims are often uncooperative.

On the plus side, police DID receive community input allowing them to track a New Jersey man for last Wednesday's shooting of a 5-year-old girl.

Posted at 7:11am on July 22, 2013 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Mike from Delaware
Mon, Jul 22, 2013 8:13am
Until this Mayor or any other mayor of Wilmington swallows some pride and tries the proven-to-work plan that Mayor Guilani successfully used in NYC, this topic is simply more wringing of hands, 'Oh what are we to do???' We can't stop crime in Wilmington. What are we to do??? Boo Hoo, boo hoo.

It's way past time to get tough on crime, both in the city and in the suburbs. The New Castle County and City of Wilmington governments should team-up on this one issue and do the Guliani plan. This metro area has about 600,000 people [72,000 of that lives in the City of Wilmington], NYC has approx 8.3 million people living within its city limits. Wilmington barely deserves to be called a city when compared to Philly or NYC, yet heaven forbid they take a page from the big boys' book of a solution that worked.

Forgive me for being so harsh, but this crap has been going on for way too many years here. It shouldn't be rocket science to make tiny little Wilmington a nice place to live. Again if they can do it in NYC with their 8.3 million people, how embarrassing that our "mega city" of 72,000 can't accomplish this. NYC has shown the way, but pride and arrogance is getting in the way of both the mayor and city council as they must be saying, we know better. YEA, we all see what you know.............NOTHING !!!

Mon, Jul 22, 2013 12:01pm
In William's defense, one has to remember the choices given the past election. One candidate who said this is awful, we have to do something drastic to stop it; the other candidate said, it's beyond our control, there is nothing we can do until society itself changes. So tell me: With just those two choices, which button are you going to choose?

Someone at least has to see the problem, in order to fix the problem.

Mon, Jul 22, 2013 12:06pm
And as past readers may know, I too fully support the Giuliani plan.

You can't create a chicken cordon blue out of raw chicken. You have to apply heat.

Mike from Delaware
Mon, Jul 22, 2013 12:58pm
Kavips: I agree, but still doesn't excuse any of these mayor's for not trying Giuliani's plan. I hate to say it this way, but it almost comes across like these minority mayors in Wilmington hate the idea of using an idea that came from a "white" mayor. They've pretty much done everything BUT try Giuliani's plan. Hey, a good idea is a good idea. It doesn't matter what color the person is who came up with the idea; but it seems like that can be the ONLY explanation for why none of Wilmington's mayors [the last three have been black] won't consider the former NYC mayor's plan. That's sure a sad commentary IF true.

But isn't too surprising. Racial prejudice, distrust, hate, etc., isn't just limited to white people [all people groups are prejudiced its part of the human condition unfortunately]. The sooner the minority communities [both black and Hispanic] learn that and start to take responsibility for their communities rather than blaming the white communities for all their troubles [the Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson answer to all minority problems] the sooner things will begin to improve even more than they have already in this nation.

My guess is, as Wilmington is about 85% minority; it wouldn't play well with most of the voters in the city for ANY black mayor to say he's going to use a white mayor's plan to rid the city of its crime problems. That is a sad commentary indeed. Again, prejudice, etc., isn't limited to only white people, its an equal opportunity form of hate that affects all groups of people.

Allan Loudell
Mon, Jul 22, 2013 2:45pm
Sorry, gentlemen, but I must partially disagree, based on the available evidence.

Mayor Williams is an ex-cop. I hardly think he's refraining from doing something because of the racial sensitivities. Remember, during the campaign, one or two of the WHITE candidates warned that if Williams adopted such an aggressive policing strategy, the city would be besiged with lawsuits.

I believe Mayor Williams is limited by financial and other constraints.

You keep referring to Mayor Giuliani. Sure, he adopted strategies that appeared to reduce crime in the Big Apple, and restored confidence within the NYPD that felt demoralized under the previous mayoral administration.

But New York being New York, he also had resources and dollars NOT available in many other cities: Over eight years, the NYPD went from 28-thousand to 40-thousand officers. Even adjusting for the vast difference in size, can you even imagine the City of Wilmington being able to boost its police force by the equivalent proportion? Most U.S. cities - facing depopulation - simply couldn't afford to do that.

The Pulitzer-Prize-winning, fact-checking website, POLITIFACT launched a major investigation (in 2007) into this question: "How much credit does Giuliani deserve for fighting crime?"

Part of that analysis:

"Rudy Giuliani touts his crime-fighting record from his days as mayor of New York, but many experts don't think he deserves all the credit he takes.

The brash-talking former mayor, the candidate vying for the title of real law-and-order-star, has made it a centerpiece of his campaign: Under his leadership, New York City ascended from crime capital to America's safest big city.

At campaign stops, in interviews and in speeches, Giuliani, a top Republican contender for president, tells voters that he led the Big Apple's amazing transformation, driving down crime and returning the streets to residents and visitors alike.

And it's true. The violent crime rate dropped by 56 percent during the eight years he served as mayor. Murder, down nearly two-thirds. Robbery, down 67 percent. Aggravated assault, down 28 percent.

A city pegged as ungovernable was suddenly born again.

But Giuliani's big claims come with big caveats. While the statistics he cites are accurate, independent experts and studies of the phenomenon suggest Giuliani exaggerates his role. Consider:

* Violent crime in New York began falling three years before Giuliani took office in 1994, U.S. Justice Department records show. Property crime began falling four years before. The decline accelerated during his administration, but the 'turnaround' he claims credit for started before him.

* New York was no anomaly, but was part of a trend that saw crime fall sharply nationwide in the 1990s, particularly in big cities. The city with the best record for reducing violent crime during this period? San Francisco.

* Independent studies generally have failed to link the tactics of the Giuliani administration with the large decrease in crime rates.

Rather, many criminologists believe the decline in New York, as in Chicago, San Diego, Miami and elsewhere, was the result of a complex mix of social and demographic changes, including a break in the crack cocaine epidemic, an improving economy, and increased prison terms for proven lawbreakers..."

(That the above dates back a few years becomes obvious when you see a reference to violent crime dropping in Chicago.)

Several cities DID adopt some of the Giuliani strategy, particularly CompStat, a sophisticated computer system allowing the NYP to track crimes weekly. But some cities adopting CompStat - Boston & Baltimore - actually saw crime RISING again, and this came BEFORE the Great Recession.

That prompts discussion of issues beyond cities' control:

A subpar economy and/or whether a city's geographic position makes a particular city a tempting venue for drug dealers, gangs, etc. (That has been Chicago's predicament, and I don't think Mayor Rahm Emmanuel has much compunction about pushback from civil libertarians, minority constituencies, etc. He's already opened several hornets' nests with his closures of Chicago public schools, etc.)

Has the "Giuliani Effect" (if you want to call it that), lasted?

Well, a year ago The NEW YORK POST reported that for the first time since 1994, crime in all eight of New York City's "patrol boroughs" had gone up. Comparing 2012's CompStat numbers to the same period in 2011, major felonies (shootings, sex crimes, & robberies) went up 4.2%. Grand larceny jumped 9.2%. (The POST attributed that escalation to criminals hunting for iPads & iPhones.) Rapes jumped 2.1%. But, the number of murders in New York City actually continued to drop.

To be sure, there are contradictions: Anonymous sources told the NEW YORK POST the uptick in most crimes could be attributable to "the recent slowdown of stop and frisks", while the most recent NYPD report (then) suggested police were actually stopping and frisking people at a record pace.

While stop-and-frisks jumped, so did the number of shootings.

Just over the last few days came this A.P. story, datelined Albany:

"New York's violent crimes increased 2.3 percent statewide to more than 79,000 last year despite a drop in New York City murders.

State data on serious property and violent crimes still show an overall 13 percent, decade-long decline to about 450,000 last year.

That reflects fewer crimes in all categories, led by a 62 percent drop in stolen vehicles.

While the city's murders declined almost 19 percent to 419 in 2012 - the fewest recorded in decades - aggravated assaults, robberies, and forcible rapes all rose to nearly 53,000 violent crimes, up 3.5 percent from 2011.

For the rest of the state, violent crimes were nearly flat at about 26,000 last year, with declines in forcible rapes and robberies, an uptick in aggravated assaults and 265 murders, a 4 percent increase..."

By the way, could this not suggest a 'Whack-a-Mole' effect? If Wilmington city cops are TOO effective at cutting street crime, would that be at the expense of suburbia, the county?

You don't necessarily obliterate crime, you just move it.

However, perhaps Delaware's new reform bail law may keep some offenders off the streets -- longer.

Allan Loudell

Mon, Jul 22, 2013 3:18pm
Mike, the Giuliani plan is a budget-buster. It alone requires equal the amount of money the departments use for their entire budget. Giuliani if you remember, had to get a bond issue passed to fund the operation. I'm afraid without tons of cash, it won't happen.

Finally found a source that indirectly backs up my memory: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/osdc/rpt601/rpt601a.htm

Page down to Graph 6: This quote beneath that: "Despite the largest police force in the City’s history, the City intends to spend a record $275 million on overtime in FY 2001. This represents an increase of $115 million over the amount allocated in the adopted budget and $28 million more than last year’s record of $247 million (then see Graph 7)"

However for all those who love Wilmington, a Giuliani-type investment may have far more benefit for the City of Wilmington than updating the bridges across the historic rivers, and is well-worth paying for later as we do infrastructure upgrades, after the problem has been fixed.

As usual, the solution is a little bit more complicated than just saying, "Let's do it." The money angle explains why a lot of jawboning about crime gets said, but nothing on the ground seems to change. It takes money, and lots of it.

Mike from Delaware
Mon, Jul 22, 2013 3:41pm
Allan: Good analysis. Note, I usually remember as I did above, to say that both the city and county should team up on this effort, because you are correct, the crime will simply relocate [the prostitution thing is a classic example as the cops crack down on Rt.9 near the Del Mem Bridge, the hookers move to Rt 13 in Minquadale, the cops crack down they move to the Wilmington Manor area, the cops crack down they move to below the 13/40 split, etc], so by making all of NCC including the city not a crime friendly place just maybe some of that violent crime and other nuisance crime will move to some other place away from Delaware.

My answer to the city being sued for having tougher laws, is so what? Why can't a city/county make tougher laws? Who'd sue, Al Sharpton? That's what's wrong with our nation, let's not fix a problem, because some knucklehead might sue us. Exactly why the public schools are in the mess they are in today. The administration's quake in their boots in fear of some disgruntled parent suing because their little darling who's pure as the driven snow, had to follow some rules at school. This is non-sense and shouldn't be allowed to happen in the way it does today.

What is Delaware's new reform bail law? Has it passed and been signed by the Governor?

Just as a side note, on the prostitution issue, I've never understood why the county doesn't say, if you are "hooking" along Rt 13 in front of those stip clubs [just below the South Market St. Bridge before I-495, we'll look the other way - sort of one stop shopping all that vice or "sin" in one place away from where folks live]. They've already allowed those strip clubs to be there, so why not the hookers? If found in other places, automatic spend 60 days in jail, no bail.

Again, why do the criminals seem to have more rights than the honest hard working citizen who pays the taxes that support these do nothing folks in city council, county council, or Legislative Hall in Dover?

Make common sense laws and then enforce them, no special treatment for the rich and famous, the wealthy, or those in government, or any "special interest group". All are treated the same. Problem solved. Obviously, getting the biggest offenders of special treatment [city council, county council, Dover, and Wash DC] to make such a change is the "fly in the ointment".

Mon, Jul 22, 2013 3:54pm
Both Mike and Allan.

As with everything, there are multiple interpretations. From an armchair far away, one can look back now 24 years(wow) and cite statistics that show Giuliani's bluster was just that.

However as anyone who has been in the chair trying to bring about change, the opposite is also true. Would all these changes have happened anyway with Giuliani? No, they wouldn't. The same underlings would have offered their solutions to a different superior, and would have been rejected as being too expensive, or too unconstitutional.

There is a little known book that I saw excerpts from and is highly recommended by those who follow this issue more than me. It is by Jack Maple, one of the Giuliani Plan's archetects, the Crime Fighter, which offers an unabashed look removed from all the glamor usually associated with Giuliani.

What worked best was eliminating open air drug markets. When you sell drugs in the open air, being where the traffic is becomes the determiner of one's business. That determination is settled with guns. Filling up the prisons with criminals I've always thought was New York's secret. But prison occupancy dropped significantly over the Giuliani years. Also the amount of drug users apparently stayed at a constant rate to population. But without open air markets, the ability to grow one's business through violence stopped. To grow now, one had instead to get out, socialize, and meet people to find users, mostly at clubs, where use of violence would be deemed so uncool, it would freeze one out of business, not enhance it.

Furthermore, the idea that it is pointless to put cops on 30th and Market, because the criminals move to 31st and Market, therefore so what's the use, is debunked. Because of your actions, you stopped the crime that was going to take place on 30th and Market, so none of those crimes that would have taken place, took place. Perhaps some activity did take place on 31st, and perhaps it rose slightly. But the negative effect on crime was greater than the increased effect felt elsewhere, so your actions cause a drop in the crime rate. Previously the thought was that you fought crime mostly in the marginal areas, suburban places where inner city came out to rob those with something to rob. You tried to make that safe because you couldn't do any good in the inner city. That too was debunked. You fight your battle on their turf. You go where crime is highest and make your presence there. Everyone you catch and process, can't go out the next day into the suburbs and rob those people there.

Granted there are multiple factors affecting crime. Some such as a growing economy, higher taxes, more available funds, budget surpluses, Federal financing of more policemen, higher employment levels, cutting of welfare, all helped to generate the clean city New York has become.

But without political will, Giuliani specifically, it wouldn't have happened on its own. Political will is what Dennis Williams is now offering. It is time to take advantage of that opportunity and go after the enemy: drug related crime. Specifically open air drug markets.

Mike from Delaware
Mon, Jul 22, 2013 8:08pm
Kavips : Good info & analysis. So, if going after open-air drug markets is part of the answer, what's the city waiting for? Start shutting them down, get those folks off the streets.

Thank both Allan & Kavips for the excellent info & analysis.

Allan Loudell
Tue, Jul 23, 2013 5:44am
The bail reform measure HAS been signed into law.

Mike from Delaware
Tue, Jul 23, 2013 1:15pm
Allan: What does the bail-reform law change from previous law?

Allan Loudell
Tue, Jul 23, 2013 1:59pm
Violent offenders accused of committing new crimes while out on bail would face tougher bail conditions.

If arrested a second time for a violent felony while out on bail for the first accused violent felony, the judge would revoke the original bail. At a new bail hearing, bail would be set AT LEAST twice as much as the original bail...

Allan Loudell

Mike from Delaware
Tue, Jul 23, 2013 5:48pm
Sounds like a great law. Thanks for the info.

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