That’s Delaware’s ranking in 24/7′s most recent ranking of violent states based upon FBI’s Uniform Crime Report (2012). They did this last year too, and we were 6th then. Even though violent crime has mostly been on the decline, that decline hasn’t hit all areas of the US evenly. They use the FBI’s definition of violent crime, which includes: violent crime includes murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault. Both Maryland and Delaware make both lists, even though they both have relatively high educational attainment and relatively low poverty. What makes both states outliers is the violent crime that persists in sections of our biggest cities — Baltimore in Maryland and Wilmington here in Delaware.
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 547.4
> Poverty rate: 12.0%
> Pct. of population with bachelor’s degree or higher: 29.5%
> Property crimes per 100,000: 3,340.9 (13th highest)
Delaware cannot be proud that it had the sixth worst violent crime record in 2012. Most of that ranking is due to high crime rates in the poorest neighborhoods of Wilmington, its largest city. But that is not the only problem. Its aggravated assault rate of 342 per 100,000 was the eighth worst nationwide in 2012. Its property crime rate was fifth worst. The high rate may surprise residents, as Delaware is an outlier on many of the trends seen in high crime areas. It has a relatively low poverty rate, as well as one of the highest median household incomes in the country.
This is pretty disgraceful really. And as often as I think about how to reduce the violence in Wilmington, there’s nothing better than a job and decent schooling to reduce the opportunities to be violent. But this is such a small state and I suspect that too many people think that what happens in Wilmington does not affect them. So what does this kind of (getting to be routine) statistic do for marketing this place to outsiders? Baltimore is definitely has its crime problems, but it also has multiple successful neighborhoods and they are expanding that number — focusing on not letting good working class neighborhoods go to seed and in reclaiming parts of the city that offer value. Baltimore is also a priority for most of the Maryland state leadership who know that Baltimore needs to be successful in order for the rest of the state to really thrive. It would be nice if we stopped moving sand on the beach long enough to pay attention to what needs to happen to start stabilizing Wilmington.