Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Accepts Invitation from City and State to Assess Lethal Violence in Wilmington

Posted on  06/13/2014 11:09 am

CDC Team Will Arrive Next Week with a Goal of Recommending Ways to Reduce Violence

Wilmington City Council Member Hanifa Shabazz (D-4th District) today thanked Delaware Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf and Wilmington Mayor Dennis Williams for their support in helping to bring the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to Wilmington to study the impact of lethal violence in the City and help identify ways to reduce it.

Council Member Shabazz sponsored a Council Resolution last December asking the CDC to examine and respond to what the Resolution (attached to this news release) refers to as a pandemic of gun violence and homicides among young African American males.

The CDC considers violence a significant public health problem. The City and State opened discussions with the CDC a few months ago about how an assessment of the problem in Wilmington might be carried out. Next week, a team from the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control is scheduled to arrive to begin a process of reviewing crime records, assessing local factors related to violence and developing recommendations to prevent further violence.

Council Member Shabazz introduced her Resolution at the end of a year which saw a record 154 shootings in Wilmington in 2013 and 15 gun-related deaths as reported to the Delaware Division of Public Health. So far in 2014, there have been 10 homicides by the use of a firearm and 38 shootings.

“While we don’t know where the CDC study will take us, we need to apply as many tools as possible to stop the enormous damage that is occurring to people and neighborhoods in some areas of Wilmington,” said Council Member Shabazz. “Unfortunately, the entire City has to bear the brunt of negative perceptions which are severely harming the City’s ability to grow.”

Secretary Landgraf said she welcomes the presence of CDC researchers. “When we had a number of teen suicides in Kent County in 2012, we asked the CDC to come to Delaware to assess the problem and help us understand ways to reduce the risk of young people taking their own lives. We believe the CDC can apply the same kind of scientific analysis to gun violence in Wilmington and offer concrete recommendations to reduce the number of shootings and the overall trauma to the community. This clearly will be another tool in moving toward a healthier Wilmington.”

“As one of our nation’s leading agencies in protecting citizen’s public health and safety, we support the CDC coming to the City of Wilmington to hopefully provide new and thoughtful methods to address the gun violence and reduce the number of shootings within our City,” said Mayor Dennis P. Williams. “Through this effort, in conjunction with the execution of the Cure Violence model and an emphasis on police officers building a stronger relationship within the community, we continue to work towards making our city safer.”

A PFD copy of the City Council Resolution sponsored by Hanifa Shabazz and co-sponsored by Council Members Robert Williams, Sherry Dorsey Walker, Maria D. Cabrera, Justen Wright, Nnamdi Chukwuocha, Loretta Walsh and Michael Brown is attached here as part of this news release.