The number of shootings in the City of Wilmington continues to rise. To date there have been 15 shooting incidents and 7 homicides.
Two separate incidents happened this week after the Wilmington Police Department deployed more officers to the streets under ‘Operation Disrupt’.
Some residents see the war on guns as the perfect opportunity to bring in the National Guard.
“I think this is crazy and I think we are at war. The mayor and the governor are to respond to that war. Bring in the National Guard in,” said Bilal Hawkins after one of the most violent weekends in the city where two triple shootings took place in one neighborhood.
Hawkins, lost his grandson that weekend too in another shooting incident. Wilmington Mayor Dennis Williams has implemented many initiatives to tackle the violence but bringing in the National Guard will never be an option.
“If you don’t call the police when you see a crime you are a part of the problem, if you don’t sweep in front of your house you are part of the problem. The National guard…..really,” Williams said.
The idea of the National Guard hits close to home to the mayor and many city residents. The guards patrolled Wilmington in the wake of the 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.
“I lived under the national guard for two years and it was the worse time of my life as a child growing up in the city and many baby boomers like myself would be so disgusted with the National Guard roaming our streets again,” Williams added.
Peacekeeper Matthew Allen said while he’d like to see tougher tactics enforced in Wilmington, his message favored what Mayor Williams has preached since in office.
“You want this to stop, the people in the community you have to start working with the police officers, the police officers also start working with the community too,” Allen said.
It’s called community policing. And according to Mayor Williams it’s a proven method that works only if people cooperate.
“If you took a map and you looked at the crime, there are certain areas where crime is, and there are several areas of the city where crime is not and let me tell you why crime is not in those areas because those people call the police and they tell if anybody comes in their neighborhood doing anything wrong,” Williams said.
Tune into ‘First’ tonight on WHYY-TV at 5:30 p.m. and again at 11:00 p.m. for the full story.