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Back in the 1990s, Wilmington saw a major increase in drug sales. Not too surprising, considering its proximity to Washington, DC, Philadelphia, Baltimore and New York City. Plus, the city’s police force was severely short of funds, leaving the streets under patrolled. As discouraged residents moved away, many vacant homes fell to drug dealers and vagrants. Subsequent increases in violent crimes eventually made Wilmington one of the most dangerous cities for its size. Things have improved, however, since Wilmington became the first city in the country to have surveillance of the entire downtown area. Approximately $800,000 worth of equipment lets technicians keep tabs on the exteriors of all viewable buildings, and notify the police immediately to any suspicious activity.