WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

Even bitter cold doesn't thwart shootings in Wilmington; one occuring during public meeting on shootings...

Even the oppressive Arctic winter cold could not freeze Wilmington's street violence.

As if to underscore the intractibility of the problem, one of last night's shootings even occurred while Mayor Dennis Williams and other city officials were presiding over a public safety meeting to deal with that very problem.

(Mayor Williams rushed out of his own meeting to make the scene of a shooting along North Broom Street, according to his press secretary.)

And here we saw the operational similarity -- and difference -- between Mayor Williams and the man he replaced, Mayor Jim Baker. In recent days and weeks, Williams has been morphing into Baker when talking about the shootings in macro terms: Broad societal issues, lack of opportunities and jobs, a pervasive drug culture, lack of positive role models, etc. Of course, "candidate" Williams was much less inclined to raise the societal issues.

But Williams still makes some of the scenes of these shootings and homicides. Baker generally didn't.

More than before, Williams and some civic leaders lash out at the media, particularly The NEWS JOURNAL, for "negative coverage" of the city. Some folks complain about too many meetings, and urge immediate action. But what does that mean?

An ex-city cop with a Ph.D in social psychology, consultant James Nolan, talked about the need to establish dialog. He also touted the much-discussed "broken windows" theory. But in an atmosphere of fear and resignation, when people who "snitch" risk getting killed themselves, how can that necessarily ease the problem?

Just yesterday morning here on WDEL, Mayor Williams discussed his plan to recruit ex-cons to get the message to the streets about the futility of such street crimes...

Listen to (or read) WDEL's Tom Lehman's reporting on last night's public safety meeting.


Posted at 7:51am on January 8, 2014 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Mike from Delaware
Wed, Jan 8, 2014 8:34am
Here is an article from City Journal that tells the entire story of Broken Windows and what Giuliani and the city government did - that included Broken Windows - to fix the public areas of Manhattan. For those who insist there's no proof it works, here's some info from the article:

" There were very few experimental studies—-the most certain method of establishing causality—-showing that the first caused the second.

But that changed last year, when University of Groningen researcher Kees Keizer and his colleagues published a paper in Science. In six experiments in the Netherlands, Keizer observed and compared the behavior of people under artificial conditions of order and disorder. Invariably, he found that disorderly conditions encouraged further and more serious levels of disorderly behavior. In one experiment, for example, Keizer placed an envelope conspicuously containing five euros in a mailbox. When the mailbox was clean, 13 percent of people who passed it stole the money; when it was covered with graffiti, 27 percent took it.

Also in 2008, Harvard University researcher Anthony A. Braga and his colleagues published the results of a complex set of field experiments in Criminology. Researchers and police identified small neighborhoods in Lowell, Massachusetts, and randomly assigned them to experimental and control conditions. In each of the experimental areas—-where police were maintaining order, Broken Windows–style—-crime dropped more sharply than in the control areas and, moreover, did not simply move to adjacent neighborhoods. The article also built on an earlier experiment, with the same results, that Braga had conducted in Jersey City a decade earlier.

While these studies do not settle, once and for all, the question of the relationship between disorder and serious crime, they do provide a substantial body of experimental evidence that fixing broken windows ought to be an integral part of any community’s response to crime. In fact, it’s hard to think of a policy option for fixing a major social problem that is as strongly supported—-by both experience and solid research—-as is Broken Windows."


Mike from Delaware
Wed, Jan 8, 2014 8:59am
So it seems to me that both the city and the county should start enforcing the little laws that they tend to ignore, like littering, walking in the street when a sidewalk is provided, spitting on the sidewalk, playing extremely loud music that can be heard two blocks away, not keeping up your property [including broken windows, weeds growing, etc.], speeding, say, more than 5 miles an hour over the limit, talking on a hands-held cellphone while driving - the cops must be blind, because I see many folks every time I drive anywhere doing this - double parking, and double parking while sitting in the car chatting with someone blocking the street, and other petty laws so that both the general population and the criminals would get the idea that the laws of our city and county will be enforced, even the tiny irritant laws.

Criminals would hate this, because they know they would eventually end up in jail, because when they're stopped for these petty laws. they also may have an outstanding warrant for their arrest and so being stopped by the cops for littering now makes their lives a real hassle. THAT would give the cops a new tool with which to catch the bad guys. Why wait for them to do the big crime, when catching them for the petty crimes would be far easier? THAT's the point of the plan.

When that is happening, then the Mayor would see the local citizens being more willing to speak out; right now those folks are trapped living in fear of these criminals.

Sure, this is more work for the cops, but isn't that what we're paying them for?

Wed, Jan 8, 2014 9:49am
More ignorance and hypocrisy from MikeFromUnaware. He catalogs all the specks of sawdust that may occur in the eyes of others. I wonder what planks the cops could find in his eye if they practiced the kind of law enforcement he calls for. But he might not mind. He doesn't think jail is so bad. "Three hots and a cot," he has called it. Jail might be a way for him to learn compassion and empathy, qualities Christianity obviously has not instilled in him.

MikeFromDelaware keeps insisting on giving Rudy undeserved credit. Wonder what that's really about.

Wed, Jan 8, 2014 10:15am
Typical politician! - Once he realizes he has no control over anything but taxing people, he blames the problem on everything but his own inability to change anything. How many years have we heard a Wilmington mayor literally yelling about all the problems around him, but not doing anything?

And what does it prove that he goes to the scene of the crime? He's hands on? He's running the show? Or is it simply he's a day late and a dollar short?

Mike from Delaware
Wed, Jan 8, 2014 1:12pm
Arthur: I agree, well said.

Wed, Jan 8, 2014 2:44pm
Not to jump on, but true. We have a plan. It is the Giuliani plan.

Take everyone in for processing if they disobey any little infraction... Loitering, jaywalking, wearing their pants too low.

Then trade their getting out for information on who has guns, and who is buying off New York... You have probable cause to go out and fetch, and then haul those in...

Simple and beautiful because of its simplicity....

So... why has this not been done?

Wed, Jan 8, 2014 3:04pm
Sorry to jump thread, but here are the breaking emails regarding Governor Christie... I just heard from inside Trenton he may resign Thursday... (unsubstantiated)


Thu, Jan 9, 2014 12:42am
Speaking of bitter cold, and this changes the thread again (sorry) but I finally satisfied one of the questions I had and looked up the temps in Australia. If you remember last year they experienced record breaking heat waves, so much so they had to add new colors to their temperature charts...


Well, they are breaking those records this year... Hotter than last year and if you remember, it was the heat in Australia that caused last year/s cold snap here. Most likely it seems to have been half of what caused this one as well...

Thu, Jan 9, 2014 5:04am
Kavips: Hard to tell if you're being sarcastic here. While the so-called and misnamed "Giuliani Plan" has the kind of simplistic, hard-line, and stupid appeal tea-baggers and fundamentalists like, I'm surprised to hear you endorse it. It did not cut crime in New York. It led to major police scandals. It led to cops beating up people and shooting people.

The Christo-Nazis don't think this will affect them. This reflects their us-them mentality discussed in the Salon article I posted. The elect vs. the damned. Wait until one of them doesn't cut his grass or shovel his walk and some busy-body neighbor calls the cops. Wait until the cops start running checkpoints and these people get stopped on their way to work (running late). Wait until they get arrested because their dog pooped on a neighbor's lawn and they and the neighbor exchanged words. Wait until they get pulled over for a broken tail-light and hauled in.

The wing-nuts think the cops will crack down only on those bad Black and Hispanic people in Wilmington. No way. They have to crack down on everybody or there's a major lawsuit for racial targeting and racial profiling. These people think the world was a better place on "Leave It To Beaver" but see how they like it when they find themselves in a police-state Mayberry (and it's Barney who's in charge).

The other thing that is interesting is how easy it is for uninformed people to come up with solutions when they have no idea what the real cause of the problem is. Most cities don't use this "Broken Windows" model, but crime rates are dropping all over the place. What's that about? What's different about Wilmington?

And these people hate taxes. Broken window policing is expensive.

Tue, Jan 14, 2014 12:59pm
Maybe Wilmington isn't so bad.

Earlier this week, a retired cop in Florida shot and killed a guy for texting in a movie theater during the trailers. Injured the guy's wife, too.

Yesterday, another guy got charged with assault after going after a guy who used the express check-out line at Wal-Mart with too many items in his cart.

People are standing their ground down there.

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