CDC comes to Wilmington next week to study gun violence

By Mellany Armstrong/Peter MacArthu 10:57am, June 13, 2014 - Updated 12:59pm, June 13, 2014
Mayor Dennis Williams says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is coming to Wilmington next week to take a look at the city's gun violence.

WDEL's Mellany Armstrong reports.

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Mayor Williams says the city and state opened discussions with the CDC a few months ago.

"Remember what I said during the course of the campaign, I will pull anybody in and support anything that will help us stem this violence," he said.

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Williams says he feels police are getting a handle on the shootings, but homicides have increased because of the drug trade.

"I know one of our major problems is employment. I keep talking about that. You can do all the studies you want. We've got to get people back to work and get them educated, those are the two main problems right there," he said.

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Investigators will be in the city from June 19th to July 3rd, and Williams says he expects results to be in rather quickly.

Wilmington City Council reacts to the CDC investigation into city violence

Wilmington City Council member Hanifa Shabazz made the initial call for the CDC to offer its input on Wilmington's crime problems.

She remembered that the agency had studied a rash of student suicides downstate and thought perhaps the same kind of research could be put to use in Wilmington.

"Knowing some of the issues, the social issues that the community is plagued traumatic syndrome, depression, bipolar, mental illnesses...that were resulting in the violence," said Shabazz.

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Shabazz says while they are here, CDC staff will look through case files and other vital records to get a better sense of who Wilmingtonians are and whether living in the city lends itself to street violence.

"They would do a biological breakdown of all of our systems and case studies, and situations that all involve the quality of life of Wilmingtonians and see where our sort comings fall--where we're not doing something correctly, and hopefully maybe we can correct some of our systems."

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