Operation Disrupt: New approach to tackle crime in Wilmington [audio]


The Wilmington Police Department is putting more officers in the streets in response to a weekend increase in gun violence.

“The violence in the city has to stop.  It’s just not a police problem, it’s a community problem,” said Wilmington Mayor Dennis Williams.

There have been a number of shootings that have taken place in the city. The most recent incident happened Sunday on the 200 block of N. Broom Street where three males were shot. Now police are responding to the triple shooting and others with “Operation Disrupt.”

“I think it’s time now that we take a serious look at what’s going on, we’ve been working hard to combat this violence,” Williams said.

Operation Disrupt is a part of a three-phase initiative to tackle the recent wave of violence. Phase one involves reassigning nearly 30 officers to high crime areas throughout the city so that law enforcement is more visible. Wilmington Police Chief Bobby Cummings isn’t revealing those target areas just yet.

“I can only imagine what the residents are going through,” Chief Cummings said.

According to Cummings, an increased police presence will hopefully encourage better relationships between police and community members as well as drive down opportunity for crimes to occur.

“We will conduct pedestrian stops. We’ll have night time curfew in effect in those areas for the juveniles that are hanging out. We will serve warrants,” Cummings said.

Additional officers will work shifts based on the Department’s weekly crime analysis. That means one lieutenant, five sergeants and 22 officers will be deployed to different neighborhoods depending on the need and violence in a specific area.

The initiative also involves a partnership with the New Castle County Police Department.

“It’s a similar model to what we use in New Castle County. If Chief Cummings calls and says he needs additional assistance, the New Castle County Police will stand together with their brothers in the City,” said Colonel Elmer Setting of New County P.D. 

As for “Operation Disrupt” it went into effect today.

“We think outside the box. When you have a spike in crime, yes it’s reactionary, we know that. But we tried some things that didn’t work and we’re going to go this route,” Williams said.


Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal