Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki on Friday addressed the recent increased and ongoing gun violence in the city.
The mayor said, despite increases in such violence in January and February, annual statistics point to a decrease in homicides and shootings over the previous five years--trends that can be interrupted and overshadowed by the recent spike.
He issued the following statement:
“Every crime-fighting tool available is being used every day by the men and women of the Wilmington Police Department to remove guns from our streets and to arrest those illegally carrying guns—all in an effort to prevent gun-related crime from occurring,” said Mayor Purzycki. “However, even the best law enforcement system in the country will not be totally effective against illegal guns, especially in the hands of repeat offenders who, in some cases have been victims of gun violence and then turn around and shoot others, a seemingly unstoppable and powerful national gun lobby, entrenched poverty, lack of education and housing, and untreated physical and mental health issues.
“Wilmington’s policing system, under Chief Robert J. Tracy’s direction, is a vastly improved system from what we had in place just a few years ago. The WPD uses community engagement as the basis for all the innovative police work that is underway to keep people safe and our neighborhoods and City strong. We are making more arrests, seizing more illegal weapons, solving crimes at a much higher rate, working more collaboratively and effectively than ever with our criminal justice system partners, and are seeing better results statistically for these efforts. While all of that is well and good, of course, the recent uptick in gun-related incidents is unsettling and must be resolved so people feel safe and are safe. We are making every effort to do so with the tools available to us and continue to support state leaders’ efforts to reduce illegal straw purchases through common sense legislative changes.
“We will not permit those involved in criminal activities in Wilmington, many of whom are not even from our City, to erode the progress we have made. The Chief and I are committed to making Wilmington a much safer City and we appreciate all of the efforts of our residents and businesses to assist us.”