Posts Tagged ‘Delaware’

Wilmington no longer Murder Town USA

June 29, 2019

Wilmington, Delaware was labeled “Murder Town USA” in 2016 and violent crime got even worse in 2017. In 2018, however, murders and shootings were cut in half and have stayed down so far in 2019, as reported in this public radio story. Officials and residents credit a new police chief and his emphases on Compstat, prolific offenders, and community policing.

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Delaware reviewing hair evidence convictions

March 5, 2019

The FBI determined in 2015 that its crime lab had a very high error rate in microscopic (non-DNA) hair comparison analyses completed prior to 2000, possibly contributing to mistaken convictions. Delaware has now joined several other states conducting independent reviews to identify any past convictions involving questionable hair evidence, as reported here. The announcement notes that use of such evidence “would not necessarily cast doubt on the case’s resolution if additional evidence, such as confessions or DNA analysis, supported the conviction.”

Rapid DNA in action

January 22, 2019

This article reports early adoption of Rapid DNA technology in Bensalem, Pennsylvania and a few other sites around the country. The equipment requires little training and returns results in 90 minutes. Scientists are generally satisfied with the accuracy of matches from cheek swabs but consider crime scene DNA much more complicated to process and interpret. A current limitation is that most machines only link to local databases, not the FBI’s national CODIS system. Critics worry that the technology will tempt police to collect DNA from anyone they deem suspicious, leading to an ever-larger DNA database susceptible to misuse.

The only cop in town

October 24, 2018

The U.S. has 2,000 or so 1-officer police departments. This photo-essay highlights “the only cop in town” in 3 such agencies located in Delaware, Kansas, and Alaska, along with brief audio clips. One common theme for the chiefs is that they know their residents, and the residents know them, which has its pros and cons. One comments “You know everybody, and you know how they are. You’re seeing them at their worst, but you know how they are at their best too.”

To chase or not to chase

June 30, 2018

This article provides a balanced discussion of police pursuit policies and practices. According to a 2015 analysis, chases account for over 300 deaths per year in the U.S., nearly half being bystanders or passengers. Many agencies have adopted stricter guidelines, limiting pursuits except in serious violent crime cases and putting decisions in the hands of supervisors. But other agencies continue to pursue and give officers discretion, not wanting offenders to believe that it’s easy to escape.

Hot spots & outreach in Delaware

November 24, 2017

This article describes data-driven initiatives by the Delaware State Police to target crime and traffic hot spots, as well as emphasize thorough preliminary investigations and community outreach. Interestingly, among the 50 states, the one in which the state police represent the biggest portion of all police is Delaware.

Latest viral video

January 29, 2016

Here’s the latest viral video, #COPLINEBLING, a campus safety production from the University of Delaware.