Around six citizens came to Wrightsville Beach Police Chief Dan House’s Thursday, July 17, Chat with the Chief at Wrightsville Beach Town Hall.
House said part one crimes for the months of April, May and June were up three at 92 total. Although it was roughly the same the same amount as last year House said he would almost call it a reduction because of the amount of rainfall in May and June of 2013.
Part two crimes were down by five for this April, May and June, House said.
The town ordinance violations were up 150 to 708 total for those three months this year. House said the Wrightsville Beach Police Department has especially been proactive in writing civil penalties for dogs on the beach and surfboard violations, and human waste violations were also higher this year, he added.
In the second year using a unified command center for policing Masonboro Island on the Fourth of July, House said the tactic worked even better than the first year. The number of people on Masonboro Island on the holiday has dropped from around 3,500 in 2012 to around 1,200 in 2014, which House attributed to his department’s concentration on preventing illegal taxiing to the island.
One issue that will cause law enforcement agencies to act differently next Fourth of July is the growing number of people that choose to spend the holiday in Masons Inlet. House said there were around 300 boats in the inlet this year and there were multiple issues from that area, which will mean there will probably be officers stationed there next year, he said.
On the island House said WBPD has been working with Wilmington Police Department, New Hanover County Sheriff’s Department and North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement to clean up the downtown Wrightsville Beach area during peak bar hours.
One of the concerns in the downtown area WBPD is addressing is the growing number of violations that could be gang related. House said a rise in the amount of vandalism, drug related crimes, weapons related crimes, and assaults and affrays could be related to gang activity in Wilmington spilling onto Wrightsville Beach.
A tactic House said that would help police the area is the new downtown surveillance cameras recently installed.
Phase one of the installation is done, which includes stationary cameras with digital zoom capability and pan tilt zoom where and officer can manipulate the camera from mobile device. House said those cameras could also be programed to turn on and follow areas based on analytics and trends.