Delaware budget allocates $500K to help curb crime in Wilmington

An overnight shooting in Wilmington sent two 19-year-olds to the hospital with gunshot wounds, and police are now searching for the gunmen.

City police say the armed suspects approached the teens and demanded money. The victims, who ran, were then fired upon and suffered gunshot wounds to the chest and lower back.

Friday’s shooting is one of at least a dozen so far this year, and now state lawmakers have come up with a strategy they believe will deliver a one-two punch in the fight to make the city’s streets safer. 

“We’ve had an escalation in gun violence and crime in Wilmington,” said Sen. Robert Marshall, D-Wilmington West. “I am urging the state, Chief [Michael] Szczerba and Mayor [James] Baker aggressively move forward and offer a firearm recovery program in Wilmington.”

A new round of gun buybacks in the city is one of the plan’s key elements; last year’s gun buyback resulted in more than 2,000 weapons being taken out of circulation. Sen. Majority Whip Margaret Rose Henry, a Democrat who represents the city’s east side, says the second element is to increase police patrols.

“We’re really very, very excited about the opportunity to help Wilmington stem the high rate of violence that we’re experiencing related to gun shootings and this two-prong approach, we think, will do a lot to help resolve this issue.”

Delaware’s new budget year starts Sunday. Pending the governor’s signature, $200,000 has been set aside for the gun buyback and $300,000 has been earmarked to pay overtime to put more police patrols in the city’s neighborhoods.

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