National Policing Institute and Vigilant Resources International
The principal questions facing the Wilmington Public Safety Strategies Commission are why Wilmington has not experienced the same crime reductions found in similar municipalities and what Wilmington can do about that. This report offers an examination of the strategies currently being employed by the City and Wilmington Police Department (WPD) and proposed strategies to address WPD’s core mission. The methodology involved document review, site observation, crime analysis, community surveys, and interviews with WPD staff, government staff, and community members. The team found that Wilmington has three built-in advantages: a sufficiently large police force to provide appropriate resources; the fact that small areas of the city account for a large proportion of the crime and community harm; and the fact that many people with whom we spoke in the WPD, from the leadership to rank-and-file officers, recognize that there is a need and opportunity to change for the better. The team found that WPD’s strategies are more responsive than proactive, the department does not deploy sufficient officers in patrol and key investigatory functions, WPD is behind other law enforcement agencies in its use of technology, and the investigatory units do not solve a sufficient number of crimes—particularly homicides—and can improve its investigatory functions and victims’ services. The Wilmington community generally appreciates WPD, but some community relationships have become strained and can be improved. All of the issues identified in this report are fixable, none are exclusive to Wilmington, and many of the building blocks for reform are already in place.
Secondary data analysis, Interviews, Literature review, Observation / Participant observation, Surveys
Police Foundation & Vigilant Resources International. (2015). The Wilmington Public Safety Strategies Commission: Final report. https://www.policinginstitute.org/publication/wilmington-public-safety-strategies-commission-final-report/
Strategic Priority Area(s)