VIDEO: Mayor-Elect Williams talks public safety, downtown commerce

Although Wilmington's next mayor won't take office until early January, Dennis P. Williams says he already has plans to improve public safety and promote more commerce within the city.

WDEL's Tom Lehman has more:

Williams, a former State Representative for the North Wilmington area, told an audience at a Downtown Visions' meet-and-greet at the Delaware College of Art and Design that decreasing the level of crime in the city will be a major priority when his administration takes over next year.

"This administration will deal with violent offenders and I'll guarantee you--give me six months and you'll see a difference in this city," he says.

Williams, a former Wilmington police officer, says addressing violent crime will be important and that it's unacceptable for dangerous incidents to occur in public places, especially where children are often present.

"There is no excuse for gun battles, people taking over parks, people taking over swimming pools, community centers--there is no excuse for that," he says.

Williams also defended the hard approach his administration will use to decrease the frequency of violent crime in Wilmington.

"I am not going to make excuses for people being violent offenders because they didn't go to school, because they had their own personal issues. I'm not going to accept the fact of our children getting murdered. I'm not going to accept the fact of our senior citizens running in the house when it gets dark because they cannot walk to a store," he says.

Williams says public safety also affects the city's economic development, particularly in the downtown area. He says he plans to improve communication between the department and local shops and businesses.

"We will abide by the constitution, but we will not have people sleeping in front of businesses, urinating in front of businesses, panhandling, driving your customers out of downtown Wilmington. We will deal with that within the confines of the law," he says.

Williams says he wants encourage partnerships between local businesses and the city's government when he takes office. He says opening dialogue with local business owners will be among the ways he aims to increase cooperation.

"We are gonna work with every store and business in this city. They are gonna get sick of seeing me reach out to them. I'm gonna be in their building, they don't have to come and see me," he says.

Williams says one way he wants to promote commerce downtown is by "eliminating $40 parking tickets." He says they cause a major problem that discourages business in the area.

"These tickets will be reduced and we won't have people hiding in bushes at all, jumping out every time your customers come in and give them tickets," he says.

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