Delawareâ€™s Most Common Crimes â€” and How to Avoid Them
With a population just shy of one million residents, the state of Delaware sees more than its fair share of crimes. While many of the stateâ€™s residents live peaceful lives, for others the reality is far different.
Wilmington, in particular, has been labeled the most dangerous small city in America by the website Movoto.com, with 1,703 violent crimes per 100,000 residents. Indeed, our state is very much one of extremes when it comes to crime. For example, Newark, home to the University of Delaware, sees a disproportionate number of alcohol-related offenses â€” which is perhaps to be expected â€” in addition to high rates of more disturbing crimes such as assault and rape.
Important Trends and Statistics
Analyzing data collected between 2008 and 2012, the Delaware Statistical Analysis Center came to a number of conclusions regarding crime in the state:
- Serious crime is on the way down. Statewide, Delaware saw a 7% decrease in serious crime between 2008 and 2012, a trend that appears to continuing.
- Violent crime is also decreasing. Statistics specifically for violent crimes echo overall trends, with the total number of incidences dropping by 8% over a four-year period.
- Property crime has remained steady. Although vehicle theft and property and social offenses dropped considerably, these improvements were offset by an uptick in shoplifting and burglary.
- Crimes against law enforcement officers have dropped by 1/3. In 2012, not a single officer was killed in the line of duty, though a significant percentage of assaults (15%) led to injury.
Most Common Crimes in Delaware
- Assault: Assault in Delaware ranges from a class B felony (assault in the first degree) to a misdemeanor (offensive touching). Penalties can include everything from fines, probation and community service to incarceration up to 25 years. The intention of the accused, the victimâ€™s age, the extent of the injury caused and the use of any weapons all impact the severity of the crime.
- Destruction, damage and vandalism of property: Criminal property damage ranges from simple vandalism charges to arson and other serious offenses. Penalties typically include probation, fines and community service, though in more severe cases jail time may also be a consequence.
- Drug offenses: Drug offenses are one of the most common crimes in Delaware. Possession of any amount of pot is a misdemeanor offense, punishable by fines up to $1,150 and as much as six months in jail. Other more serious drug crimes include trafficking and distribution or sale (both felonies punishable by up to 25 years in jail). Penalties for all drug crimes increase significantly within 1,000 feet of a school or 300 feet of a park or place of worship.
What to Do If You Are Charged With Committing a Crime in Delaware
The first step to take if youâ€™ve been charged with any crime is to contact a lawyer. In Delaware, a criminal attorney can represent you throughout the bail and arraignment processes. In fact, the sooner you call, the more time your attorney will have to build your case.
For legal help in Delaware, call Wilmington attorneys Rahaim & Saints right away. Our team has more than 30 years of experience in the stateâ€™s legal system. We can ensure you get expert representation every step of the way.