Is Wilmington’s homicide unit paying off?

 (John Jankowski/for Newsworks)

(John Jankowski/for Newsworks)

Nearly a year ago, the Wilmington Police Department established a homicide unit in effort to tackle an increase in crime.

During a recent interview with WHYY, Police Chief Bobby Cummings shared an update.

“Well, I can tell you that we’re making progress since we started our homicide crime unit,” Cummings said.

According to the police chief,  progress is the result of increased cooperation from the community and stronger community policing tactics.

The force even initiated monthly meetings with the attorney general’s office. During those meetings law enforcement from multiple offices come to discuss cases, ultimately working together to close cases that may have gone cold. This year serves as an example of getting cases solved in a timely fashion.

“I can tell you that in 2015 of all the homicide cases we’ve had so far we’ve closed seven of those with the possibility of closing some additional ones,” added Cummings.

However, some questions remain.  For resident Walter Hines, who lives feet away from where 25 year old Latrice Blackshear was gunned down two weeks ago, the shooting is another example of the violence that has gripped Wilmington for years. Three were shot, including the young mother and her four year old daughter. The mother died.

“This is the worst that I’ve seen in this area because this area used to be nice,” Hines said.

Councilwoman Hanifa Shabazz, who often hears from her concerned constituents about the violence, shared that the violence many have witnessed is due to the lack of education and jobs in the area – but it’s something city officials recognize must be fixed.

“We are working on addressing our educational systems, we have a lot of new industries coming into the city, new venues, and new businesses coming. We have numerous workforce development programs. We now just have to connect the dots,” Shabazz said.

Shabazz said connecting the dots means helping train those with limited education and getting the unemployed back to work.

“It’s just not one easy anecdote to what’s going on in the city, so that’s why all of the organizations and entities and forms of government that all have these great ideas and resources we must come together,” Shabazz said.



Tune into WHYY tonight for the full story on First at 5:30 pm and again at 11:00 pm.

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