WESM

Wilmington mayor softens talk on crime, attacks opponents

Aug 18, 2016

DOVER, Del. (AP) — Wilmington Mayor Dennis Williams, who was elected in 2012 after promising to get tough on criminals, says his violence-ridden city can't arrest its way out of its crime problem.

Williams, who campaigned four years against a "hug a thug" approach to crime, said in a Democratic primary debate Wednesday that arresting more people won't solve Wilmington's crime problem, which he suggested was rooted in poverty.

But while taking a softer rhetorical approach to crime, Williams had plenty of harsh words for some of his seven primary opponents, at one point calling businessman Michael Purzycki a "slumlord."

Purzycki responded that "desperate people say desperate things."

While describing himself as "battle tested," a combative Williams said his opponents were offering voters "pie in the sky."

The primary will be held Sept. 13.

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