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Does Sussex County Have a Crime Problem?
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According to the 2010 FBI Uniform Crime Report, the violent and property crime rates in Delaware are well above surrounding states and the nation. Surprisingly, except for the City of Wilmington, the highest 2010 crime rates are concentrated in Sussex County towns and cities.

Expressed as incidents of crime per 100,000 population, nine out of the top ten highest violent crime and property crime rates occur in Sussex County communities in 2010. These crime rates are well above both the Delaware average and the U.S.

 

 

Violent Crime Rate 2010

   

Property Crime Rate 2010

         

Dewey Beach

4000.0

 

Dewey Beach

22461.5

Wilmington

1909.4

 

Bethany Beach

17004.0

Laurel

1688.3

 

Rehoboth Beach

13977.8

Milford

1512.7

 

Camden

8592.0

Milton

1381.5

 

Milford

7381.7

Bridgeville

928.1

 

Milton

7067.0

Georgetown

865.8

 

Laurel

6214.8

Millsboro

847.8

 

Dover

5717.7

Rehoboth Beach

800.5

 

Wilmington

5659.9

Seaford

756.5

 

Seaford

5659.9

         

DE

620.9

 

DE

3448.2

U.S.

403.6

 

U.S.

2941.9

 

Since these rates are based upon year round population, they are more difficult to interpret for the vacation communities in Sussex County…especially the violent crime rates. Dewey Beach, for example, had only one forcible rape in 2010, no murders, and just ten aggravated assaults. Property crimes, however, are more linked to the housing stock in a community.

Of particular concern in Sussex County recently has been the high incidence of home invasions. The FBI data on burglary rates appears to confirm that there is a problem. The FBI defines burglary as the unlawful entry of a structure to commit a felony or a theft. Again, nine out of the top ten communities by burglary rate are in Sussex County, and these rates are well above the nation. Sussex County accounts for 20% of the population and 26% of all the burglaries in Delaware communities.

 

 

Burglary   Rate   2010

Milton

4197.7

Dewey Beach

3692.3

Greenwood

1826.0

Laurel

1810.6

Selbyville

1757.1

Rehoboth Beach

1662.6

Wilmington

1605.0

Ocean View

1528.0

Georgetown

1411.6

Bethany Beach

1315.8

   

Delaware

836.9

U.S.

699.6

 

Not surprising for a resort area, Sussex County also accounts for a disproportionate share of the forcible rapes and vehicle theft in Delaware.

There is by no means a rampant crime wave in Sussex County. However, concern over home invasions appears to be warranted and peak vacation season staffing of law enforcement in the beach communities may be worth evaluating.

Dr. John E. Stapleford, Director

Center for Economic Policy and Analysis


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