Gunfire already has claimed eight lives this year in Wilmington, Delaware's largest city, putting it on track to break its annual record for killings, reports the Wall Street Journal. At a time when many cities have seen murders fall sharply, Wilmington's toll remains stubbornly high. Last year's 28 killings fell one shy of the high mark reached in 2010 and 2011. The violence overwhelmingly afflicts young African-American men in poor neighborhoods in the city of 71,000. A high-school freshman, 16, was killed in one of a pair of shootings in late January that also wounded five.
The persistent violence also has unnerved some in the corporate community, dominated by firms such as Capital One Financial and Bank of America Corp. About 17,000 people work in the city's financial-services sector. The downtown area is in a burst of residential development. Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, have a house five miles away. “The fact that there is this problem does impact the city's overall image when we're trying to recruit companies to locate here or convince existing companies to stay here or expand,” said state Attorney General Matt Denn, a Democrat who took office in January. At Barclays PLC, which employs 1,600 at the revitalized Christina River waterfront, job recruits routinely ask about crime.