Wilmington, De., Leads Nation in Teen Shootings

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Photo by Rod Waddington via Flickr.

Wilmington, Delaware, a city of 72,000 known as the birthplace of chemical giant DuPont and as a cozy home for big banks and Fortune 500 firms, leads the U.S. in its rate of shootings among people under 18, according to an analysis by the Associated Press and USA Today Network of Gun Violence Archive data from media reports and police press releases.

The analysis covers a 3½ year period through June of this year.

“It’s nonstop, just nonstop,” said William Rollins V, whose stepson was shot. “Around every turn, they’re taking our kids.”

Of the 10 cities with the highest teen shooting rates, most had populations of less than 250,000. Among them were Savannah, Ga.; Trenton, N.J.; Syracuse, N.Y.; Fort Myers, Fl.; and Richmond, Va. Chicago was the only large-population city high on the list. Poverty and a sense of hopelessness in the most violent neighborhoods is a common thread.

Syracuse has a poverty rate of 35 percent. Other cities, like Savannah, are deeply divided. While its antebellum mansions, gnarled live oaks and marble monuments to war heroes drew more than 13 million visitors last year, the scenery there quickly shifts to decaying neighborhoods, abject poverty and deadly violence.

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