Matt Denn Knows the Value of Police Foot Patrols in Wilmington but the Delaware Assembly Only Knows $$$

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We, as residents of Wilmington, DE have been embarrassed and saddened by headlines such as “Murder Town, USA.” Attorney General Matt Denn who was sworn in to office on January 6, 2015 has made it his mission to reduce crime, especially violent crime, in the City of Wilmington. He has often discussed how other cities with high crime incidents were able to reduce crime by having a visible presence of law enforcement officers in known high-crime areas.

Matt Denn

He didn’t just talk; he took action and made it happen by applying for a grant from the state’s Neighborhood Building Blocks Fund. Since March of this year seven officers have staffed the overtime patrols nightly in high-crime areas.

According to reports in the News Journal, residents generally welcomed this police presence. Denn had reportedly reviewed statistics that showed a 2/3 drop off in the rate of homicides since the patrols began in March as compared with the first two months of this year, according to Shana O’Malley’s story in WDEL on June 30, 2015.

As was reported in the News Journal on July 1, 2015, Mr. Denn was disappointed with the decision of the Delaware General Assembly to use “one-time financial settlement funds [from bank settlements related to the 2008 financial crisis] to balance the budget, and not to fund foot police patrols in Wilmington.”

He had advocated for using some of the money to pay for the continuation of police overtime patrols in crime-ridden areas. Mr. Denn has said foot patrols in Wilmington will end soon without an appropriation from the General Assembly’s budget committee. This is a shame to see a promising initiative that appeared to be working abruptly end in its infancy.


Knowing Mr. Denn, he is likely looking for solutions and will find them. However he needs us to voice our support and encourage our representatives to do the same. I hope that we as voters will encourage our legislature to support the foot patrols and other initiatives to try to combat crime in this city to make it a safe place for families to live and for businesses to thrive.

Market Street is seeing a bit of a resurgence through private investments, including new restaurants and several new apartment units, but at the same time Wilmington has this serious crime problem. In such a small state, what happens in Wilmington whether for good or bad invariably effects suburban and rural parts of the state.

The new policies have been working – Wilmington is already a safer place – yet unbelievably the General Assembly has cut off important funding for foot patrols for the City and instead is using funds to balance the budget. While balanced budgets are laudable and important for the state financial security, using this money to fight crime in Wilmington would in the long run pay off greater financially for the State than the temporarily balancing of the budget.

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