Ezion Mount Carmel Church hosts a meeting on making Wilmington's Street's Safer

Ezion Mount Carmel Church hosts a meeting on making Wilmington's Street's Safer

Wilmington City Councilwoman Michelle Harlee held a meeting looking for solutions on how to make Wilmington's neighborhoods safer, and plenty of ideas were exchanged.

There were community activists, religious leaders, rehabilitated offenders, Mayor Purzycki, Police Chief Robert Tracy, Attorney General Kathy Jennings, but there were only three people in subcategory the room kept coming back to: teenagers.

About halfway through the two hour discussion, a question was asked for a show of hands of those under the age of 18 in the room of about 100 people at Exion Mount Carmel Church in Wilmington; just three arms extended upwards.

While ideas like stricter gun laws, harsher drug penalties, better mental health programs, ending the 'no snitching' culture, Wilmington schools, more cameras, and others were bounced around from speaker to speaker, they were almost universally contributed by adults.

Enter 15-year-old Darius Elliott from the Northeast section of the city.

Elliott spoke about his work with a Community Intervention Team of teenagers that looks to keep things at a peer level.

"We go out and go help others. We're not there to be against you, we don't care if you smoke weed, we don't care if you do anything like that, we want to be there for you."588

From Elliott's younger perspective, he said he hears from those his age that they're for more than just words from adults, even if they're well-meaning. 

"I hear a lot of things over and over again, but I want to see it come to action. I see a lot of politicians come to these types of meetings and say things they do. Like our chief of police, I feel like he does a lot of things, but he could do even more."

Police Chief Tracy spoke during his opening remarks, advising attendees to steer clear of anyone who thinks they have all of the answers to solving violence problems in a major city, which is where the melting pot of ideas could come into play.

After the two-hour session was over, Councilwoman Harlee said she didn't specifically learn anything new, but pledged to get youth groups more involved in future meetings.