Is it a case of patience or cover up? Nearly two years after the Centers for Disease Control visited Wilmington to study crime, city leaders are calling for release of the promised report.
It was December 2013 when Wilmington City Council Member Hanifa Shabazz, D-4th District, called on the CDC to investigate what she considers a pandemic of crime affecting some of Wilmington’s black communities.
On Friday, Shabazz publicly criticized the delay in issuing the report that she says is much needed due to the “rising incidents of shootings and homicides in Wilmington this year.”
“I am calling on the CDC to immediately release this report which we learned preliminarily last March from the CDC could provide a blueprint for a risk assessment tool to determine the kind of services needed to prevent people from beginning a descent into criminal behavior,” Shabazz said.
According to Shabazz more help from the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) is necessary to eliminate some crime.
“There is mounting evidence of instability within Wilmington’s African American communities which I believe is caused by either continuous post-traumatic stress disorder or some other mental health condition. These illnesses have resulted in a breakdown of law and order, the destruction of the family structure and lack of common sense,” Shabazz said.
According to the governor’s press secretary, Kelly Bachman, the CDC report is not final. Bachman released a statement in response to Shabazz allegations.
“DHSS was asked for its thoughts on a draft report and provided comments to the CDC. The CDC is still considering those comments and has not issued any final report,” Bachman wrote in an email that also stated that once a final report from the CDC is delivered, the state will share with the mayor’s office, Wilmington City Council and the public to discuss the findings.
In the past, city leaders have alluded that the state is hiding information and that there is a shortage of services available in black communities.
“The report does not show that city residents receive fewer state services. It was an epidemiological study of the risk factors for gun violence and shows a correlation between certain events (mostly traumatic events) and a risk of later gun violence,” Bachman stated.
In the meantime, the final report from the CDC is expected to be released within the coming weeks.
“I am not suggesting that the CDC report is the ultimate answer or solution, but at this stage, we’ve got to grab onto all available options that can help us changes lives, stop the killings and save our people, our neighborhoods and our City,” Shabazz said.