DOVER, Del. - Gun Violence in Dover may finally be on the decline following a months-long initiative to crack down on shootings, drugs and gang violence.
In June, Mayor Robin Chistiansen took a stand fearing the city was on pace to have more shootings this year than in 2016. Through the first six months of this year, the city reported 30 shootings, compared to 40 all of last year.
So far, the initiative has worked.
"Some people regarded our zero tolerance policy as a joke, but I think that you can see by the press release the results that we have had so far we're not joking," said Christiansen.
Over a seven week period in August and September, 55 individuals were arrested, 31 of them were known or suspected gang members.
Christiansen called the work of first-year Police Chief Marvin Mailey, "exemplary."
"We've developed a partnership, not only with other police agencies, but with the citizens in our community. Making our entire city a safe place to be."
A total of seventeen firearms, 2,594 bags of heroin, 16 grams of crack cocaine, 442.8 grams of marijuana, and 56 MDMA pills were recovered during the initiative that also included the execution of ten search warrants of various locations in the City of Dover. At least one firearm has already been linked to two shootings that occurred in the City of Dover in July 2017.
Christiansen calls this just a small battle the city has won, and when asked what needs to be done to continue the progress made, the answer was simple. Keep the pressure on.
"The bottom line on it is that a message has been sent to the folks who want to come to Dover and Kent County and do misdeeds, that we're not going to tolerate it."
Although the statistics show one thing, with the residents we spoke to it's been a mixed bag. Some say they feel safer.
"I just like what they're doing, I just hope it drives out a lot of the crime," said Dover resident Sabrina Maloney.
While others have said they've already seen to much violence and feel moving elsewhere would be safer.
"Our biggest concern is living downstate we wanted to live away from all the noise and the crimes that is upstate," said husband John Maloney.
In the end officials say they're biggest hope is that trend continues downward for the shootings in the city, and that safety will no longer be a concern people worry about in Dover.
For a more comprehensive look at crime in the area, you can go to neighborhoodscout.com.
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