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Sunday, November 27, 2022

Wilmington police report crime drops for 2015

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By Elizabeth Weaver

Intern

Despite a string of recent high-profile acts of violence, the Wilmington Police Department cites in its annual report released Tuesday a 20 percent drop in homicide in 2015. In the department’s report, Police Chief Ralph Evangelous used the data to demonstrate that violent and property crimes remained at historically low levels.

“We explored opportunities to improve community relations through a series of community dialogue circles and we encouraged our leaders to listen to citizens and asked citizens to comply with officers,” Evangelous said of his department’s initiatives to reduce crime.

The report said behind a budget increase of 4.9 percent, police increased patrols by 9 percent, listing a 27 percent reduction in crime in the public housing areas. Eight additional detectives and a forensic chemist were added. Meanwhile, the department reported that use of force incidents dropped by 7.4 percent in 2015.

The Downtown Task Force, a joint operation between Wilmington police and the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office, is credited with lowering reported crime by 2 percent in downtown Wilmington. The report said an increase in traffic unit patrol calls resulted in 153 DWI arrests.

The police reported that the mobile field force, created in February 2015 as a joint unit between city and county law enforcement, saw a 68 percent increase in calls, resulting in a 46 percent increase in arrests.

Wilmington police also saw a 9 percent increase in service calls. Overall, the most common calls for service from police were from residents asking for patrols in specific neighborhoods, followed by 911 hang-ups and calls to report breaking and entering.

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