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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Ralph Evangelous says Wilmington’s gang problem is the worst he’s seen since becoming police chief nine years ago.

Now that a 90-day cease fire is over, the chief says more than police need to be part of the fight.

“It’s usually the children that should be taking the mothers home, but it’s the mothers that are taking the children home,” Bishop James Utley of Love Center Church said.

Several mothers in our community lost their sons to gun violence over the past couple months. As a community that has been plagued with gang activity, Wilmington not seen a stop as a 90- day cease fire comes to an end.

“I am not going to sugar-coat it: our strategies have not worked in the past, and they are not working presently,” Evangelous said.

Over the past 90 days Chief Evangelous says his department arrested more than 100 people connected with the violence and added increased police presence in problem neighborhoods, but they are still fighting the battle with no end in sight.

“I don’t know we call it a success,” Evangelous said. “I’ll say what a success is: that we’ve got the community involved.”

Throughout the summer clergy held prayer walks, cook-outs and hosted midnight basketball. They say they saw upwards of 300 young people come out for these events, but Evangelous says these efforts need to continue before we lose those kids, too.

“We need to try and save them,” he said. “That is what this whole effort is about.”

An effort echoed by clergy.

“You’d be surprised how many young people are waiting to hear words of love,” Rev. Edward Williams of Prayer and Bible Ministries said.

Bishop Utley said, “We all came here on different ships, but we are now in the same boat.”

Chief Evangelous says WPD plans to push for legislation for harsher penalties. He also says police are working on other proposals with outside entities that could help end the violence. He would not go into detail, but says if those plans do come to fruition, the community will hear within the next month.

Comment on this Story

  • Guest123456

    I really think that people who comment and use their base of arguement on how another person votes ( or use it when it has nothing to do with the matter at hand ) is really just plain old dumb. All I have seen on here the last few months is people blaming the Dems ( name calling ) people blaiming the repugs ( name calling ) peoople blaiming bush and obama…. example a house caught on fire and the comment left on it was because Obama is in office crackheads did it, because Obama funds crackheads. Now people grow up, use your bains for once. Dont place the blame if your not willing to make the change and do something. And dont comment somehting stupid.

  • REALLY

    90 day cease fire ? really ? he must be a demoRAT to think that just saying those words will have any affect on these thugs

  • tke1

    As long as the police department, or any law enforcement is bound by the confines of political correctness there will be very little progress in this fight. This is not saying that the cops should have free reign–they are still bound to operate within the law– but their every move to quell gang activities should not be slapped with politically motivated charges of racism or profiling. Usually when the race card is played the defense has run out of legitimate legal options. It will have to be accepted that each gang has a specific racial make-up and to break up that particular gang you have to go to the heart of the gang–the particular racial community— to find the offenders.
    As I have said before, any success by law enforcement will be based on strong, unflinching support from the community. The public and especially the gang home neighborhoods have to be committed to the end of the gangs and their activities.

  • kzpony

    I was coming down Dawson yesterday about 3:45 pm to pick my grandaughter up for the weekend. Traffic in all lanes was backing up in front of Jervay ( retro ghetto), and creeped along. Police were everywhere. I caught the light and noticed something happening in the next block at the church on the right ( which I imagined was the funeral for the boy that got shot and killed on the moped). To the left, on the sidewalk, was a gang of young men just hanging around. I started getting really scared sitting there waiting for the light…like…will there be retaliation shootings???? As it turns out, as I understand, there were MANY shots fired in Wilmington yesterday…gang against gang. I was in a very uncomfortable place….thinking all along that anything could happen at any time…and I was in a very vulnerable position in a potentially dangerous area and time. Needless to say, I took Shipyard Blvd. back instead of Wooster…I had very precious cargo with me. But I thought, considering the volatile circumstances surrounding that funeral, that perhaps for the safety all of us innocent people traveling that road at that time, that traffic should have been re-routed away from this powder keg.

    The reason for writing this is to express the point that law abiding, tax paying citizens are afraid. We are not comforted by police presence or “cease fires”. We realize that no place in Wilmington is safe, especially the main corridor (especially Dawson and Wooster) in and out of Wilmington to the west. What is it going to take to fix it!???? I don’t have the answer, but I think perhaps outside assistance may be needed. We need not to worry that some stray bullet is going to fly through our car window, strike a child on the sidewalk riding their tricycle, hit an elderly person going out for the morning paper, kill someone out walking their dog.

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