It’s time to stop tying crime locations to zip codes

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Good afternoon,

A while back, I took a skeptical look at efforts by City of New Castle officials who are working to get police and media to not use the city’s name in crime reports in areas that are well outside the corporate limits.

It came after a successful effort to allow mail to be addressed to Historic New Castle and local residents frequently use the term “Old New Castle” in identifying the historic colonial community. Still, State Police have not backed off from their practice of identifying areas by zip code.

This morning, we saw an example of the misleading nature of labeling sprawling areas when news broke of a horrific crime that involved a man and a baby being shot in their vehicle in the Rosegate neighborhood.

In this case, County Police had jurisdiction and in their release identified the area as Rosegate. That did not stop one editor from adding near New Castle to a headline.

Rosegate is a neighborhood about a mile and a half from the south edge of Wilmington and nearly four miles from New Castle.

It is one of a number of areas along Routes 9 and 13 that are within the 19720 zip code but have little or no connection with New Castle city.

Sprawl and a lack of townships and other units of government have long led to such labeling.

To the casual reader, Newark could be viewed as a crime-ridden area based on media and news release descriptions. The city itself has a low crime rate, but a number of zip codes carry the Newark name.

New Castle has a point. It is up to the media to step up and more accurately identify neighborhoods. – Doug Rainey, chief content officer.

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