Wilmington police released their crime stats for 2009 today. Some crimes are on the decline, while others are on the rise. The Port City had three murders in 2009, the lowest number since 1994. Police Chief Ralph Evangelous said his department's efforts to target felons with guns seem to have paid off helping take weapons off the street. While murder numbers have decreased, police have seen an increase in burglaries and larcenies. Evangelous blames the increase on the fact that those charged with larceny do not serve jail time. He says the lack of punishment tempts thieves to repeat the offense over and over again. Evangelous says the new numbers, though, area a step in the right direction. "They could always be better obviously," Evangelous said. "I would love to have zero numbers and all that. I think overall we have made some big improvements since our peak year." Wilmington also saw decreases in robberies and motor vehicle thefts. Some residents in Downtown Wilmington told WWAY they were very surprised to hear how low the murder numbers were. Many said they're still concerned about their safety, especially in the downtown area. Chief Evangelous said police are planning on making extra efforts to help make downtown safer in 2010.
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