The Wilmington Police Department is taking a 3-pronged approach to combat a recent uptick in crime.
Gang Investigative Unit
At their Oct. 15 meeting, the Wilmington City Council approved the formation of a new Gang Investigative Unit to deter/dismantle gang-related activity and crimes. Recent suppression efforts by the Wilmington Police Department reduced some of the violence, but WPD Chief Ralph Evangelous reports that gang violence erupted again as soon as the officers returned to their normal assignments.
The new Gang Investigative Unit will be made up of one sergeant and four officers and will be operational by the end of November. The specially trained investigators will arrest gang members after they commit crimes and will work to dismantle gang networks operating within the city.
The department will also hire and train 10 “over hire” positions, which means 10 officers would be trained and ready to step into employment any time there is a vacancy at the department, instead of having to wait for officers to complete the required training that takes six months to complete. These over hires will begin in February.
Watch video of Chief Evangelous' presentation to City Council about the new anti-gang unit
View Chief Evangelous' presentation
Partnership with New Hanover County Sheriff
The WPD and NHC Sheriff’s Department held a joint press conference on Oct. 14 announcing the formation of a new 14-man housing patrol unit to enhance the presence of law enforcement in public housing areas. The unit will be made up of seven WPD officers and seven NHC deputies.
In addition, WPD is expanding the number of officers on patrol through the city in an effort to address the recent rash of armed robberies and gang violence. The unit will be made up of 32 officers each from the WPD and NHC Sheriff’s Department for a total of 64 officers who will work intermittent schedules to provide expanded patrols throughout the community.
Recent focused efforts to crack down on gangs have resulted in more than 100 arrests and valuable intelligence has been gathered.
Read Chief Evangelous' remarks
Watch the press conference
Mobile Field Force
The Wilmington Police Department’s Mobile Field Force (MFF) became operational last spring. The MFF is a 12-officer unit that is able to respond quickly to crime, or fear of crime, anywhere in the city. The Mobile Field Force consists of two teams – one team of six uniformed patrol officers and another team of six undercover officers– that work with existing efforts such as dedicated neighborhood patrol officers.
WPD Chief Ralph Evangelous reported that the MFF has made more than 200 arrests involving drugs, robberies and gangs since May when he updated City Council at their Oct. 15 meeting.
Watch Chief Evangelous' update to City Council
View Chief Evangelous' presentation to City Council