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Attorney General Jennings, Law Enforcement 
Leaders Announce Record Low Violent Crime Rates

January 30, 2024

Joined by key law enforcement figures, Attorney General Kathy Jennings declared on Monday that Delaware’s concentrated efforts on addressing violent criminals and gun-related offenses have led to a significant drop in the state’s violent crime rates. The statistics show a remarkable 40% decrease since 2008, marking the lowest point since tracking began.

Attorney General Jennings expressed admiration for the unprecedented accomplishments in Delaware, noting the simultaneous reduction in violent crime, shootings, prison populations, and recidivism. While she refrained from declaring mission accomplished, she emphasized Delaware’s emergence as a national leader in violence reduction, a feat deserving pride and recognition.

Acknowledging the collaborative effort involving prosecutors, support staff, and numerous partners such as law enforcement agencies, government offices, and community organizations, Attorney General Jennings attributed the success to a collective commitment to ensuring neighborhood safety and achieving enduring reform.

During a public safety briefing, Attorney General Jennings presented a convergence of positive trends indicating safer communities and a more effective criminal justice system in Delaware:

File Photo: Police stands at the ready as City officials came out to listen and respond to the concerns from the public at an evening rally Sunday. May 31, 2020; in Wilmington, DE. Photo By Saquan Stimpson

Delaware’s overall violent crime rates have reached a historic low, according to the latest statistics from the Criminal Justice Council. Despite a spike in gun violence during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the overall violent crime trend has continued to decline.

Gun violence rates have decreased by 20% since the pandemic peak, with a notable 40% decline in shootings during the summer months based on law enforcement data through 2023. The implementation of Senate Bill 7, a bail law passed in 2021, was credited with playing a decisive role in this decline.

Substantial reductions in violence were particularly evident in urban centers, with Wilmington experiencing a more than 50% decrease in homicides since the pandemic. Additionally, shootings in Dover decreased by 23% during the same period, attributed to law enforcement initiatives such as GunStat, gang prosecutions, and community policing efforts.

Delaware’s prison population has seen a reduction of approximately 25% since 2019, accompanied by a 60% decline in the recidivism rate, based on data from the Department of Correction and the Criminal Justice Council.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has maintained a conviction rate of 80% or more against gun offenders, resulting in violent offenders constituting 57% of Delaware’s sentenced inmate population. Among them, a plurality (18%) is serving time for a gun offense, with simple drug possession being the least common lead charge for sentenced inmates.

In a briefing earlier in the day, Mayor Mike Purzycki of Wilmington expressed gratitude to Attorney General Kathy Jennings for sharing the positive news about the record-low crime rates in Delaware. He specifically commended Police Chief Wilfredo Campos and the dedicated members of the Wilmington Police Department for their exceptional contributions to making the city safer, achieving a reduction of over 50% in murders since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2023, Wilmington witnessed reductions in various major crime categories, including a 22% decrease in burglaries and a smaller decline in felony theft incidents. The Wilmington Police Department further strengthened community engagement through initiatives such as foot patrols and participation in over 31,000 community meetings throughout the year.

A copy of the data shared in this morning’s briefing is available here.

Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki today thanked Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings for sharing the positive news about record low crime rates throughout the State of Delaware, which are down 40% since 2008. The Mayor expressed special gratitude to Police Chief Wilfredo Campos and the dedicated men and women of the Wilmington Police Department for their outstanding work in helping to make our City safer than it has been in many years, including reducing murders by more than 50% since the COVID-19 pandemic. 

File Photo: Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki gives remarks during a press conferences to announce more than 100 charges filed against the Wilmington-area gang NorthPak, following a months-long collaboration between local, state, and federal authorities Monday, June 21, 2021, at the Carvel State Building in Wilmington, DE. Photo By Saquan Stimpson

In 2023, Wilmington saw reductions in several major crime categories, including a 22% decrease in burglaries and a smaller decrease in felony theft incidents. The WPD also solidified its community engagement efforts by conducting foot patrols and attending community meetings that totaled more than 31,000 last year.