WILMINGTON — In the past few weeks the Wilmington Police Department has responded to dozens of gun-related crimes, from murder to assault with a deadly weapon, gun-related crimes have been making headlines.
But is gun crime on the rise in Wilmington?
When asked for gun-related crime data for the months of June, July, and August the WPD provided numbers from both 2017 and 2018.
According to the WPD, in June, July, and August of this year the city has seen 32 gun-related crimes including four murders compared to 44 gun-related crimes in the same time last year.
According to the initial numbers provided by WPD, the month of August has seen only three gun-related crimes including one murder, one assault with a deadly weapon, and one assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill.
The real number of incidents for August is at least 10, so why the discrepancy?
As it turns out the numbers provided initially did not include several incidents that did involve guns, but have not fully been entered into the department’s system.
Police reports often take time to fill out and officers have several days to complete them, ensuring all of the pertinent information is included, and correct, according to WPD Spokeswoman Jennifer Dandron.
June of 2017 saw 14 incidents while gun-related crimes spiked in July of 2017 with 22 events. This year both June and July saw 14 gun-related crimes, a decrease for July.
While there has been an increase compared to this time last year, the WPD is attributing at least part of the violence to gang conflicts, although calling each shooting an isolated incident.
“Wilmington’s most recent gun violence is due in part to emerging conflicts with and among local gang members. While the overall number of gun-related crimes is comparative to last year’s numbers – we believe one shooting is too many. Therefore our officers and investigators are working around the clock to apprehend these individuals as quickly as possible, WPD Spokeswoman Linda Thompson said.
“Community cooperation and help in identifying any suspects is key at this time. These are all isolated incidents and the majority of our victims were acquainted with the suspects,” she concluded.