The Honorable Governor Jack Markell,
The Honorable Attorney General Matthew Denn,
The Honorable Mayor Michael Purzycki and
The Honorable Police Chief Bobby Cummings:
WE, THE FAMILIES OF VICTIMS OF VIOLENT CRIME IN THE CITY OF WILMINGTON, demand that our leaders take urgent action so in the future none of our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, cousins and nieces and nephews, none of our neighbors and friends and none of our fellow Wilmingtonians will ever need to bury their loved ones after another senseless murder. #AllLivesMatter
We are the families most affected by what you read in the newspaper and see on television. Our lives have been turned upside down. No family in this city should ever go through what each of us has had to endure. We demand the following actions be taken by the leaders of our city and state:
1. Implement the recommendations of the Wilmington Public Safety Strategies Commission in full. A former NYPD chief and national leaders in policing have studied our situation. We should follow their recommendations and the governor, the state legislature, the city council, the Wilmington Police Department and the mayor must act immediately.
2. Fund and staff the Downtown Visions camera program appropriately to engage in crime fighting. We are losing our loved ones with no evidence because the taxpayer funded Wilmington Video Safety Partnership is not being managed in a professional manner to fight our crime problem.
3. Immediately establish a Level One Trauma Center in the city of Wilmington. The distance from Wilmington to Christiana Hospital exacerbates the severity of injuries, including death. We have a big city homicide problem with small city trauma care.
4. Immediately and proactively engage the Homicide Unit with the community and use modern detective tools and techniques to solve violent crime. The community knows those who are active in violence. The Homicide Unit must go and get them. If they are unable to get them, they must be replaced with detectives who will go and get them.
5. The Homicide Unit must communicate weekly with family members of victims on any unsolved homicide. Police fail to return calls to families who need help and who can help investigations. Many victims’ families believe the Homicide Unit either does not care or does not know how to conduct an investigation in a professional manner, with empathy for the victim's family.
6. Immediate and dramatically improve re-entry programs to integrate offenders leaving prison as productive members of society. The current programs are not working. The state, the county and the city must immediately invest in these programs, including the $3 million proposed by Attorney General Denn for use of Bank Settlement Funds.
7. Enforce mandatory minimum sentences for all young adults who have a prior violent felony conviction and carry guns. Today, there is no mandatory minimum for young adults if their violent felony conviction occurred when the young adult was a juvenile. This loophole is being exploited, and the result is known, violent criminals return to our streets and take our mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, nephews and nieces and cousins and neighbors.
8. Governor Markell, Attorney General Denn and Mayor Williams must immediately produce a study comparing the level of bail for drug offenses and the level of bail for violent offenses. It is well known in the community that bail levels are often set much lower for violent crime and gun possession arrests than for drug arrests.
9. The city and state must act immediately to fund programs to keep Wilmington's young men and women active in productive activities and off the street. You tell us there is no money for summer jobs. The current situation is costing all of us so much more than the price of any jobs program.
10. The mayor, the governor, the attorney general and every elected official must immediately show leadership on these issues or quit. Step up or step down.