What will it take to help the cities of Wilmington and Dover address a surge in gun violence? How about $2 million?
That may not be the final resolution but Attorney General Matthew Denn and some community leaders are asking for a special meeting with the General Assembly’s Joint Finance Committee to allocate $2 million in escrowed funds. Officials have said the money would be used on law enforcement resources to better combat crime.
“The residents of parts of Dover and Wilmington are living under siege, and we do not have the luxury of waiting for weeks or months to put the law enforcement presence on the street necessary to secure their safety,” is an except from the letter to JFC members. The goal is to host the meeting as soon as possible instead of in January when the legislature returns to session.
Attorney General Denn, Delaware State Chamber of Commerce President Richard Heffron, and Delaware Community Reinvestment Action Council Executive Director Rashmi Rangan all came together to draft the letter.
According to officials, the money that’s being requested comes from $36 million in settlements negotiated by the Delaware Department of Justice with Bank of America and Citigroup for misconduct committed in the national financial markets by those banks.
“Our request is that the Joint Finance Committee agree to the use of a small fraction of those funds to allow us to secure the streets of Dover and Wilmington,” stated in the letter.
Earlier this year, funds from a similar settlement were used to pay overtime salaries to Wilmington Police Department officers to increase foot traffic in high crime areas. As a result, officials reported the number of homicides dropped by two thirds during the March to July time period.
We’ll keep you updated if the special meeting takes place.