Wilmington, De., With Stubborn Crime Woes, Tries High Point Strategy


Wilmington, De., with the nation’s third-highest violent crime rate among similarly sized cities in 2009 and 2010, will try the successful anticrime strategy used in High Point, N.C., Police Chief Michael Szczerba tells the Wilmington News-Journal. High Point has used the “focused deterrence” strategy to eliminate five violent drug markets, cut gang crime, and reduce robberies. It plans to target chronic domestic-violence offenders this month.

David Kennedy, the John Jay College of Criminal Justice professor whose work underpins the strategy, says it has to be viewed as a fundamental way of doing police work, not a special project. “When it becomes a program or a grant-funded project or somebody’s pet, it gets swamped by business as usual,” he says. “It is a tough switch to make, but lots of people have made it, so it’s far from impossible.”

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