The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has agreed to study Wilmington’s gun violence and crime problem.
Last year, Wilmington City Council Member Hanifa Shabazz, D-4th District, proposed a resolution requesting the CDC to study Wilmington’s growing number of deadly gun-related incidences among young African-American males in the city.
Wilmington experienced a record 154 shootings and 15 gun-related deaths in 2013. In 2014, there have been 38 shootings and 10 homicides to date.
On Friday, city officials announced that the CDC will begin the study next week. Representatives from the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control will review crime records and assess local factors related to violence. They will also develop and present recommendations to prevent further violence.
“While we don’t know where the CDC study will take us, [but] we need to apply as many tools as possible to stop the enormous damage that is occurring to people and neighborhoods in some areas of Wilmington,” Shabazz said. “Unfortunately, the entire city has to bear the brunt of negative perceptions which are severely harming the city’s ability to grow.”
The state called in the CDC in 2012 to study a spike in teen suicides and suicide attempts in Kent County. Following the CDC’s study, the state increased youth mental health services to middle schools throughout the state.
“We believe the CDC can apply the same kind of scientific analysis to gun violence in Wilmington and offer concrete recommendations to reduce the number of shootings and the overall trauma to the community,” said Delaware Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf. “This clearly will be another tool in moving toward a healthier Wilmington.”