Wilmington leaders make history, look to make changes

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Wilmington leaders made history Tuesday and are looking to make changes in the city. (WPVI)

Escorted by four council members, new Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzyki was greeted with loud applause and a standing ovation just before taking his oath of office.

The swearing-ceremony was held at the Grand Opera House on Market Street in downtown Wilmington.

Just before the ceremony began, the mayor spoke with Action News about the city's troubling crime rate.

"We in our state and other states around the country, we've neglected our inner cities for decades, now I think we are reaping what we've sown," Purzycki said.

The number of homicides in 2016 ties the record high of 28 set in 2010.

"It's a symptom of a problem and you've got to take care of the underlying causes of crime; if we keep looking to our police officers to solve all of our crime problems, we will never get fixed," Purzycki said.

Also sworn in Tuesday were City Council President Hanifa Shabazz

"I've worked out real hard, 12 years on council, and I'm looking forward to moving Wilmington forward," Shabazz said.

Incoming City Treasurer Velda Jones-Potter also took the oath.

"I believe that strengthening the economy here in the city, creating jobs, and creating opportunities is absolutely an essential part of that," Jones-Potter said.

The two are the first black women to be elected to their roles.

"I'm elated that I've been able to make this hallmark move. I'm representing little girls all over the world who know that they can do great things if they put their mind to it," Shabazz said.

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