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Delaware Health and Social Services

DHSS Press Release

Date: November 3, 2015

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498


NEW CASTLE (Nov. 3, 2015) - DHSS Secretary Rita Landgraf released a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study of gun violence in the City of Wilmington today, saying the ground-breaking research "looks at gun violence from a public health and social services perspective, not from a law enforcement perspective" and offers recommendations on how prevention and early intervention efforts could work with individuals most at risk for violence later in their lives.

At a press briefing at DHSS' Herman Holloway Campus near New Castle, Secretary Landgraf said the CDC report, "Elevated Rates of Urban Firearm Violence and Opportunities for Prevention - Wilmington, Delaware," makes Delaware a pioneer among the states in the area of gun violence prevention. She said the public health approach will not solve the violence immediately. "The answer to preventing gun violence is not simple, and this report demonstrates there are no quick solutions that will end the violence today or tomorrow," she said. "The early interventions described in the CDC report are for the future."

Dr. Paul Silverman, associate deputy director for Health Information & Science at DHS' Division of Public Health who worked closely with CDC researchers, presented their findings. Dr. Silverman said the CDC found that the majority of individuals involved in gun violence are young men with a range of adverse life events Ė poverty, a history of abuse, a family history of addiction, or a lack of education or employment. Many of those adverse events, the researchers found, had been repeated during their lives and preceded the commission of a gun crime. In the final report, CDC researchers wrote, "Our findings suggest that integrating data systems could help these individuals better receive the early, comprehensive help that they need to prevent violence involvement."

Wilmington City Councilwoman Hanifa Shabazz proposed a resolution in December 2013 requesting the CDC investigate gun violence in the city. Mayor Dennis P. Williams made the official request for CDC assistance in January 2014, and the Division of Public Health formally requested the CDC's assistance in June 2014. Formal requests to the CDC must come from the states. CDC researchers were in Wilmington from June to July 2014.

The final CDC report is based on data, including arrest records for violent gun crimes from January 2009 to May 2014, and administrative medical, child welfare, criminal, employment and educational records from 2000 to 2014. CDC researchers did their analysis between June 2014 and March 2015. The CDCís findings were peer-reviewed.

The report is posted on DHSS' website: at

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.

Last Updated: Tuesday November 03 2015
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