Purzycki’s Campaign on Wilmington Violence


Photo by John J. Jankowski Jr. (News Journal)

Jordan Woodside, Staff Reporter

Almost into his third month as Mayor of Wilmington, Mike Purzycki has been forced to face 38 shooting victims already in the year of 2017, 11 of them died, the deadliest first two months in Wilmington in over six years. Purzycki first responded to the jump in shootings on January 17th, when he announced a new deployment strategy for police officers that involves a widened scope of police patrol areas and an increase in officers on foot and in vehicles. The patrol areas and massive deployments of new officers have been focused on “hot spot’ areas that see shootings at least once a week, manpower has also been deployed from state and county police departments to patrol the city. While increasing the shear force and presence of the police force, Purzycki has bolstered funding for the safe streets program and resurrected the DISRUPT unit. The safe streets program is a community outreach effort by the W.P.D. to establish a working relationship with the citizenry and encourage co-operation on convictions and spotting criminals. The DISRUPT unit stands for “Dealing with Issues of Stabilization through Respect, Understanding, and Promoting Trust” and seeks to establish citizen contacts with the police to uncover suspects, report illegal firearms, serve as witnesses, and generally assist police operations in problem areas. Purzycki has also insisted the issue of crime is inevitably linked to economic woes and the dire need for development in parts of the city. Within his economic development platform, he promises to establish business opportunity zones in areas with high unemployment rates in which tax cuts and other incentives will attract business investment and jobs to give people a new life off the streets. With so many commuting from outside the city, the plan encourages business in the city with incentives to hire locally to grow the wilmington population and it’s tax revenue. His plan also calls for a significant investment in Wilmington’s infrastructure and transportation networks to ease urban mobility. All of which signal coming years of a large police presence and a city wide effort to employ its population as well as grow it.