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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Downtown Wilmington’s nightlife has been a big topic of debate the last few years. From bars trying to keep out members of the military to fights and even murders at and around clubs, the downtown scene has developed a reputation for violence after about 2 a.m. That’s caused one downtown business owner to take things into his own hands.

“In an ideal world we would have 20 officers down here every Friday and Saturday night late at night, but this is not an ideal world in terms of budgets, so they only have 10 officers,” Front Street Brewery owner Tom Harris said.

Back in May Harris hired the NOTTT Foundation to help with late night security downtown. With the city putting an end to the Nightlife Task Force a few years ago and continued violence, like a murder outside the Rhino Club in January, some members of the community are worried for their safety after the bars let out.

“(There’s) nowhere near enough police,” NOTTT Foundation Director Raymond Bates said. “I know we are short-handed a lot, and that’s the reason our company was hired to come out and assist them. Any given night we’re definitely out numbered out here.”

Despite the help of the NOTTT Foundation, which stands for Nothing Other Than The Truth, on this particular night there were a handful of fights and arrests. The continuing public safety issue has led Harris not only to hire the extra security, but to start airing a string of political ad about the problem.

“The city is not doing everything it can with regards to embracing free, no cost, common sense things to proactively try to help with the random sporadic late night violence that occurs downtown especially after 2 a.m.,” Harris said.

Harris hopes by forcing city leaders to face the issue something will finally change.

He says there were more police officers on the streets this weekend than usual. That’s because it was Riverfest weekend, which brings even more people to downtown.

Comment on this Story

  • Guestobserver

    Saturday night 2 am Riverfest weekend over 50 people were sprayed with pepper spray with the wind carrying it into a large crowd when the 2 mounted horse police officers sprayed into a crowd. Meanwhile on our way home 5 additional police cars were hanging out around what looked to be a DWI stop of 1 car, assisting? The cops revert from crowd control to potential DWI revenue at 2 am. That’s the problem.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday

    …helping out with security? Is NOTTT in the business of providing security, and if so, since when? Do they meet the state requirements for a security guard business? Their website makes no mention of it….just wanting government to pump more money into low income neighborhoods.

    Glad to see that so many of you are telling Mister Harris what you think of his opinion by walking. While I never patronize Front Street Brewery myself, I have often recommended it to out-of-towners looking for some night life. That stops today.

  • Shanaynay

    because I don’t think I’ve ever seen the nott people downtown. Yet the place is COVERED with cops. Thanks Tom, I feel so much safer with your goons out. NOT.

  • GuestIshNess

    Maybe certain “bar owners” should start cutting people off before they get belligerently drunk and cause violence. The police do all they can with the resources they have been given but it’s a lost cause when the bars allow people to drink their weight in booze and then send them on their way.

  • Getalife

    Not enough Police downtown? I have a solution for this problem – Vote Joshua Fulton for City Council! Mr. Fulton says the best way to help protect the citizens of Wilmington is to CUT police salaries. I mean even though some of the patrol officers for Wilmington qualify for food stamps, that is still too much money to pay someone that puts there life on the line so you can be safe.
    Mr. Fulton is also going to make the Police scared to do there job “Joshua will also push for the creation of a committee with citizen representation on it to investigate any reported complaints of police officers.” This is because we don’t want Wilmington’s police putting the handcuffs on Biker Joe, or Gang Banger Ra’sheeds to tight, because even though they just committed a assault, murder, robbery or rape. It might hurt there feelings, and we need to treat the criminals in Wilmington with respect!

  • Guest1983

    I grew up in Wilmington. I have been away but visit quite often because I still have family living in Wilmington area, So heres my idea because I am active duty(offended by clubs turning people away just for being active duty…isn’t that illegal? Prejudice?) and been around to quite a few major cities along the east coast. I noticed it is a national problem closing bars at 2am and everyone filtering onto the streets at the same time. Groups of drunks = fights. How about this small city board members come up with a bright but simple plan of last call at 2am which is the law and then stagger the closing of bars some close at 2am and some close 3am like other Major cities are doing. Give time for people to sober up a little more as well as there isn’t a mob on the streets. Somebody will cry about this idea though. Nothing is simple any longer.

  • Guest2012

    Beautifully said! I loved your ‘right-on’ the money post.

    Get the word out, Boycott any business and/or Manchurian Candidate who smears or threatens our City of Wilmington’s Police, Fire, or workers.

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