Wilmington becomes most dangerous city in U.S.
Ranking determined by violent crimes per 100,000 people and number of sex offenders per capital
Published: Monday, September 3, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 00:09
Senior and Wilmington resident Kyle Knight said she is concerned about her hometown’s reputation.
Densely populated and less than 14 miles away from the university, Wilmington has recently been growing increasingly unsafe, so much according to “Parenting” magazine. Last month it ranked Wilmington “the most dangerous city in America.”
“I’m upset that Wilmington is given such a poor reputation given that it’s the place that I’m from, but unfortunately there are parts of it that are very violent,” Knight said. “Delaware is a small state and Wilmington is big city so you’re inevitably going to have some issues.”
The magazine based its ratings on violent crimes per 100,000 people and number of sex offenders per capita.
Wilmington Chief of Police Michael Szczerba said the city is the most densely populated area in the state of Delaware, with 71,305 as of July 2011, so the problems are typical for the number of inhabitants.
He attributes Wilmington’s dangerous nature and crime to its high rate of repeat offenders.
According to Szczerba, 36 homicide victims were shot in Wilmingtonsince January 2011.Of those 36 victims, 33 have an arrest history that adds up to a total of 723 arrests for more than 1,400 criminal charges and 14 arrests for illegal possession.
“It’s like a revolving door,” Szczerba said. “Statistics will prove that our victims are similar to our suspects, meaning that they are often repeat offenders.”
Szczerba said despite the high crime rate, students should not be concerned unless they fit into the profile of habitual criminals or drug users because those tend to be the victims.
“If you’re coming in here without a criminal history then it’s a safe city,” he said.
English professor Iain Crawford, a Wilmington resident said he believes the rating is terrible for the city and for those directly affected by it.
According to Crawford, most of the city is a wonderful, diverse and culturally rich area in which he enjoys living. He said he never feels unsafe walking around his neighborhood and taking his dogs to the park. While living in any city, he said it is still important to act sensibly.
Wilmington faces intractable issues that are typical of many other American cities, and Crawford said the underlying problems are the city’s economic condition and employment opportunities.
Szczerba said there is no easy way to answer why violence in Wilmington is increasing because the city is facing many challenges. Although police officers are trying their best to prevent crime, he said the problems are complicated.
“[People think] it’s crimeand police are supposed to stop crime, so they’re not doing their job,” Szczerba said. “Well, that’s far from the truth.”