As a followup to discussions at the initiation meeting for the new Wilmington chapter of Moms Demand Action, we had interviews with the public safety editor, Jim Ware, at the local paper Star News and a Wilmington Police Department representative, Barry Coburn. Both were very receptive to our questions and provided good information on how to proceed to obtain more data on gun violence in Wilmington. The Star News has some data listed on its online website using the key word “shotspotter” (a method that alerts WPD when shots have been fired). Barry Coburn stated he would put me on the list to receive the police statistics when they are published. Barry Coburn also suggested the following excellent opportunities to help prevent gun violence in Wilmington:
Support the PAL in its efforts to engage youth and provide alternatives to gang activity
Help provide economic opportunities for citizens living in distressed areas (Wilmington has 6 known areas that are”hotspots” and need improvements)
Work with local schools in distressed areas to provide alternatives to gang activities
Modify the sentencing process so there is a better chance of not having repeat offenders
Support drug prevention programs ( 80% of violent crimes are drug related )
Fund before school and after school programs provided at local schools
There is plenty for everyone to work on and the results could help prevent gun violence far into the future. We also need our elected officials to pass common sense gun violence prevention legislation to assist in the efforts to keep our children and adults safe. It is a national epidemic we are experiencing right here in Wilmington. It needs to be treated as such. Let your voice be heard and be an activist. It will take all of us to address this difficult problem.