Wrightsville Beach sees drop in several crime statistics

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Wrightsville Beach saw a drop in several crime statistics this year as compared with 2014, police chief Daniel House told residents Wednesday night during his quarterly “Chat with the Chief” meeting with residents.

Burglary, thefts, driving while intoxicated and liquor violations were all down, while vandalism, fraud and disorderly conducts were up. There were also decreases in citations of both dogs and glass on the beach. (See attached photo gallery for complete Wrightsville Beach crime statistics.)

While there has been an increase in disorderly conducts, almost all of that is attributed to activity at the downtown bars and not on the beach strand, House said.

Warren Lee, director of New Hanover County Emergency Management and 911 Communications, also spoke at the meeting. He encouraged residents to use use a non-emergency line for issues that don’t require an immediate response from police or emergency services. For “urgency without emergency,” residents should call (910) 452-6120. The emergency service center can’t respond to water or sewer issues, he said.

Lee said if there is a doubt to the severity of the situation, it’s always alright to call 911. He said the county is receiving about 450 calls to 911 a day from the county. In another technological addition, residents can now text 911 if they don’t feel safe calling the emergency line, such as in a situation where the

The chief described Fourth of July activities as “highly successful,” partly because of better coordination between police, emergency medical services, the county sheriff’s office and other departments. House attributed the improvement to the establishment of a county command center. In past years, calls to 911 would sometimes results in several departments responding to the same scene, but the improved communications let emergency management officials better target the response to meet the need.

Illegal fireworks were still rampant, House said, though one resident commented that it was slightly better in years past. With police overwhelmed with the number of fireworks launches, police tried to target bigger displays.

“We could have 1,000 officers out there and it would still be a problem,” House said.

Several residents raised concerns about a variety of issues. One said loud vehicles were an issue both in the afternoon and after bars close at 2 a.m. House told the resident that he wasn’t allowed to shoot at the vehicles with a paintball gun.

Another resident raised concerns about where taxi cabs are parking, though House said that police will give taxis great leeway at 2 a.m. to safely transport revelers home safely.

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