Looking to Wilmington leaders in dealing with rising violence issue

There has been a lot of back and forth over the last few weeks over the role of Wilmington leaders in dealing with rising violence in the city.  Rob Tornoe offers his cartoon and commentary on the matter.  

As part of WHYY’s coverage of the Wilmington violence issue.   We have linked up to WHYY’s Radio Times and a recent broadcast on the subject. 

Here is Rob Tornoe’s commentary.

I don’t live in Wilmington, so I only hear about the issues of violence and crime when I read about them in the paper, or hear about them from friends and colleagues.

One thing I hear a lot from people in the city is their opinion that the media (of course) is obsessed with crime stories and violence, and portraying Wilmington as a nest of illegal activity.

I understand where their coming from. Many own small businesses in town and the perception that Wilmington isn’t safe hits them right in the wallet. But in 2012 alone, seventeen people have already been killed, so I don’t think it’s a case of the media creating a story.

The other issue I hear from Wilmingtonians? That Wilmington’s soon-to-be-ex Mayor James Baker has a spotty record at best on commenting about the recent spat of shootings to erupt in the city.

Honestly, what’s he going to say? The man’s been in charge of Wilmington since 2001, and in a couple of months he’ll be out. What could he say or do now that would dramatically shift the public’s perception that he can do anything about the problem?

Obviously, something has to be done. Just last Friday, over 40 people marched to Wilmington police headquarters and demanded that Police Chief Michael Szczerba meet with residents and assign more patrol officers to certain neighborhoods.

Listening to the comments from the Democratic candidates for mayor during a debate last week, as reported by WDEL, their solutions don’t seem very encouraging.

“I’d get out of my house and go there to see what’s going on,” said City Councilman Kevin Kelley. What was the first thing Transportation consultant Scott Spencer said he’d do? Pray.

Mayor Baker’s former Chief of Staff Bill Montgomery said he call for continued use of the Safe Communities program, while Bail bondsman Robert Bovell said he’d add security at events like soccer tournaments. At least they have ideas.

Maybe I’m being too hard on these guys. After all, I don’t have any solutions. Then again, I’m a cartoonist, and these guys are vying to run Delaware’s largest city. —– Rob Tornoe is a political cartoonist and a WHYY contributor. See more of his work at RobTornoe.com, and follow him on twitter @RobTornoe.

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