Wilmington mayor searches for crime leads; residents search for answers

 (Nichelle Polston/WHYY)

(Nichelle Polston/WHYY)

The recent shooting spree in Wilmington has prompted the police even the mayor to the patrol the communities where they all took place.

Reactions from Wilmington residents were both positive and negative.

“I used to feel sorry for the families that lost somebody. Right Now, I’m hurting,” said Dorothy Mangrum who said she wasted her mayoral vote but appreciates Wilmington Mayor Dennis Williams for reaching out to her as she stood at her grandson’s memorial.

“Anybody with any position of authority gets blamed for everything. So you let people go ahead and vent because they are grieving and it’s a grieving period,” said Williams who says he understands the fustration.

Mangrum lost her 19-year old grandson, Raekwon Mangrum on April 4th in West Center City. A shooting believed to be connected to a rash of shooting incidents that began last week.

On Tuesday, the mayor also visited the Southbridge neighborhood where shootings have happened while Wilmington Police searched for leads in the most recent homicides. Two young ladies greeted the mayor and acknowledge that a big part in tackling the crime is for people to report what they know. Meanwhile, detectives went door to door to talk to residents and hand out flyers. Despite the recent wave of shootings, Williams insisted the city is still on the right track.

“I’d say we’re pushing it down. Is there more work to do? Absolutely, there’s more work to do,” Williams said.

The month of April started with a number of shootings. Shots ranged out on the 200 block of N. Monroe Street, 700 block of E. 22nd Street, and recently on 700 block of Townsend Place.

Last month, a list of recommendations to help with the city’s crime was released. Williams said he’ll consider some but not all. For an example, the mayor doesn’t support Jump-out squads in Wilmington.

“We’re building relationships. I do not want to ruin the relationships that we have built over the past eight or nine months. We’ve built bridges here,” said Williams who admits that some community members and law enforcement continue to work on trusting each other.

However, what the mayor is likely to expand is the detective unit that was established under his administration.

“Everybody can’t react to studies and jump out there and not think about what to do, or then you’re right back where you started again,” Williams said

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