Letting the Williams safety plan for Wilmington take hold

John Watson is a long time Wilmington radio talkshow host.  He now calls NewsWorks as a place to express opinions and conversation.  He has some thoughts on the new Wilmington crime fighting plan.


The State of the Union is Excellent as we heard in the President’s Address. Governor Jack Markell is having some annual financial problems, but says the State of the State is very good.

Meanwhile, the state of things in Wilmington is getting better with Mayor Dennis Williams at the helm, and the release of his Public Safely Plan.

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Of course, things couldn’t be worse in the criminal community. Not only does Mayor Williams have an excellent crime fighting plan, he takes time to use his street smarts, visiting the cities hot spots, leaving the criminal element, and the hot spots cooled down just a bit. He did say he was putting the criminal community on notice.

He won’t spend all of this time in his office; he will be plowing through the cities hot spots, ready to live up to his campaign promise to put a dent in crime in six months and we won’t recognize Wilmington in two years.

But the Mayor is also using his aggressive style in visiting many neighborhoods and businesses, where he is welcomed with open arms. When complaints come in the Mayor will be on the spot checking them out. But he makes sure not to step on his police chief’s toes. The residents voice their feelings of more security, and feeling more at ease talking to police officers and pushing their “no snitch” attitude aside.

Published reports say so far things have been mostly the same as last year, in the early going in Mayor Williams’s tenure in office. A near record number of people were killed on the street then. And this years hand gun homicides total at least five so far. Three at New Castle County Courthouse, including the gunman, one 16 year old boy shot in the head and one beauty shop guard. The Mayor paid his respects at that location, and also spent some time with the great-grand mother of the 16 year old victim. His hands-on approach has brought him and the city neighborhoods closer; with a better understand one for the other.

The News Journal reports that to help him deliver on his promises to rid the city of violent crime, the mayor has hired community policing advocate Jim Nolan, a West Virginia University professor, and a former police officer as a consultant. Dwight Holden, the former head of the state Board of Pardons was brought in as his work force development coordinator. 

Making a long story short, Police Chief Christine Dunning says, Wilmington Police will have a different approach for each city neighborhood in fighting violent crime. And when the Mayor visits the crime scenes with his security detail, he just might be loaded, carrying his own gun. When asked he made light of the possibility. Police Chief Dunning is asking for increased bail and reduced plea bargaining for gun crimes. Attorney General Beau Biden is pushing for an amendment to the state constitution, allowing judges to hold violent offenders with out bail, not only in capital murder cases. All of this, and more, puts the Williams administration just where city residents have been waiting or are they are showing their optimism about the Mayors plans to make all of our city streets safe again. No more crime hot spots.

Meanwhile, Published Reports tell us that not every on has a positive attitude about the plan. Both City Council President Theo Gregory and Councilman Mike Brown, Chairman of the Public Safety Committee, are quoted as having their doubts that the Public Safety Plan will make a real difference.

But keep in mind, neither one of them has been a police officer, fighting crime in Wilmington Streets like Mayor Dennis Williams has. And I think the Mayor just might surprise all of his critics and Doubting Thomases.  

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