WILMINGTON, Del. (CBS) — Fighting gun violence was the topic of a meeting in Wilmington on Tuesday. It brought together dozens of organizations from across the city.
A shooting near West 6th and North Jefferson Streets sent a 28-year-old man to the hospital. He’s expected to survive.
But that broad daylight shooting happened on the same day a group called the Wilmington Community Advisory Council met at Howard Technical High School to discuss the root of gun violence throughout the city.
Many attendees can relate to the impact of shootings, like Wilmington resident Calvin Bland. He lost his 20-year-old cousin, Troy Morgan, to gun violence on the west side of Wilmington in 2013.
“We grew up together where we were inseparable,” Bland said. “He was at the wrong place, wrong time. He was actually trying to protect one of his friends and he got shot.”
According to Wilmington police, there were 89 shootings last year, which is an increase from 72 in 2018. That’s still a 46% drop compared to 165 shootings in 2017.
“I believe that the Wilmington Community Advisory Council has helped significantly,” Wilmington Community Advisory Council chair Henry Smith III said.
Smith says the group started in 2016 after Wilmington officials invited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to examine crime in the city as a public health issue.
After a few years of studying, the CDC recommended starting the council.
The group, comprised of about 40 organizations throughout the city, meets about every other month.
“What we do, if you look around the room, we bring together individuals that represent organizations that can impact the issues,” Smith said.
As for Bland, he wants the numbers even lower.
“It’s really bad but I think we are making progress,” Bland said.
Wilmington Council President Hanifa Shabazz, who helped create the council, was not able to attend today, but said in a statement, “What I am most proud of is that through the work of the WCAC we are identifying the root causes of crime, fostering partnerships, building capacity for strong community engagement and promoting resilience.”