Can Wilmington Police Chief Christine Dunning Solve the City’s Crime Problem?

She’s certainly got her work cut out for her. As the new police chief takes office, crime continues to plague Wilmington, which could have drastic effects on the city’s arts and culture organizations.

Christine Dunning has her work cut out for her. As Wilmington’s new police chief, she faces seriously negative public perceptions—though, in fairness, the bad feelings are backed by stats. According to an excellent story by Cris Barrish in The News Journal, murders in 2012 “represented a sharp escalation of rampant violence in a city that ranked third in America among 450 similar-sized cities for violent crime.”

We cringed (some scoffed) last year when Parenting magazine named Wilmington America’s most dangerous city. We stopped at the headline, of course. The article actually reported that crime in Delaware, as a whole, was moderate. But Wilmington looked bad. And the snarky comments that accompanied that article will live forever in cyberspace.

We overdramatize things. The entire city of Wilmington is not under fire—pockets of it are. We know the neighborhoods to avoid—and there are bad neighborhoods in nearly every city.  The problem, though, is that such broad negativity will be the undoing of Wilmington’s arts organizations—many of which are already struggling. And don’t forget: Thousands of Delawareans live in safe city neighborhoods.

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But back to Chief Dunning, who is profiled this month. Writer Larry Nagengast does a good job of introducing Dunning, but we realize that it will take time for her to develop strategies. (Let’s hope for more strategies and fewer committees.) Dunning needs support from Mayor Williams’ communications team. They’ll need to be proficient enough to teach us the difference between truth that’s based on fact and truth that’s formed by opinion.

I have a good feeling about Dunning. But she needs serious backup.

Enjoy the issue.

Team Notes

Mark Nardone 
Just so you know how credible our big service projects are, we here at DT use them to make decisions about our own lives. To wit: When it was time to find a dentist for our toddler, Dina and I went straight to DT’s annual Top Dentist survey. We found Dr. Rachel Maher and her staff to be every bit as competent and professional as you would expect from someone featured in these pages. Most important, Sonny liked her, too.

Ron Dubick
Stepping into Leisa Berlin’s Lewes candy shop, Edie Bee’s, was a wonderful attack on everything an old kid like me loves when it comes to candy. Chocolate is my all time favorite, but all those big jars of colorful candies is a treat for the senses. The next thing I noticed was adults outnumbered the kids coming into the shop by about 10 to one, and that pretty much says it all: There’s no way you’re gonna stop a candy lover.

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Drew Ostroski  
Interviewing longtime WHYY videographer Gene Ashley for this issue was a real treat. I have had the honor of being miked by Gene for appearances on the station and of Gene videotaping me for segments on Channel 12’s news magazine, “First.” Gene is a true professional and a very interesting person to chat with. Now, one request, Gene—the next time we’re on location, please avoid full body shots of my portly self.

Beth Weiss  
As I write this in April, there is still a bit of a chill in the air, but I’m all warm and fuzzy inside. Working on this beach issue was a blast! My husband and I are headed to Rehoboth Beach this weekend to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. I know that I don’t look as good in a swimsuit as I did on our honeymoon, but Carl still makes me feel beautiful. Thanks for 10 great years, honey!


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