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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.

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23 Comments on "Chief says new strategies needed in fight against gangs"

2015 years 9 months ago

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.

2015 years 9 months ago

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.

2015 years 9 months ago

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

2015 years 9 months ago

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.

The Truth
2015 years 9 months ago

The Cheif can’t ( or won’t) control the thugs in his own command staff. Officers are walking out the door at an alarming rate. How can he be trusted to quell street violence?

2015 years 9 months ago

He is aware of the problems with his command staff, the female lieutenant in hiring/training and a few other bad apples, but ralphie is too spineless to do anything about it. He would rather watch good officers leave than to stand up like a man and do something about the corruption in his department.

Morty Sussman
2015 years 9 months ago

The cops are actually PROTECTING these thugs. Look what happened to GZimmerman, he stood up for himself and Obama declared him guilty of murder, and riled up racial tensions over it. Gzim was an example, leave the thugs alone or the almighty weight of the STATE will come down on you. The cops and DA offices nationwide are walking on eggshells because they are afraid of their jobs and NAACP protests. We are being held hostage to political correctness, basically society is being destroyed by this liberal insanity. Try to defend yourself from these thugs and YOU will probably get the Gzim treatment from a hostile DA and police dept, be called a vigilante and your life ruined. WE have to follow all the rules to the umpth degree, while the thugs laugh and play the system. This is what happens when liberalism takes root.

2015 years 9 months ago

Chief we can solve this problem with gangs inside of a month, gauranteed, at very little expense to the taxpayers, and thugs, all you gotta do is declare open season on these thugs, and immunity, there are enough civilians that will be glad to walk the streets and ride thru the neighborhoods 24/7, not looking for trouble, but not willing to back away from it, a couple run in’s and the whole neighborhood turning on them, problem will go away, there is nothing better than living in a quite, drug free, safe neighborhood, everyone should be entitled to this.

2015 years 9 months ago

That thinking didn’t work out too well for George Zimmerman..

2015 years 9 months ago

By putting $4o million into rebuilding Creekwood, then DSS, passing out $60 million, like candy, to unwed mothers. And the courts, giving thugs, a slap on the wrist, when they’re caught, red handed, robbing, and selling dope…..

Despite Law Enforcement’s noble efforts, crime in Wilmington, and North Carolina, will keep rising, until we stop financing the very problem, we’re trying to solve.

jack jackson
2015 years 9 months ago

Wilmington has a terrible community. I have seen communities with way bigger gang problems and way better community ties and relations. you always see people out, EVERY SINGLE DAY, out in the community together.. skate parks… parks. everything.

2015 years 9 months ago

When God fearing people have had enough, it’s enough. I don’t look for trouble but if it ends up on my property the Castle Doctrine allows me to end your issue on site. I had rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6.

Guest Reply Redux
2015 years 9 months ago

What did Saffo have to say at this meeting???
I thought so.

2015 years 9 months ago

$affo is busy looking for a new place to live after allegedly getting kicked out of his house. He allegedly got caught with his pants down while with a female other than his wife.

2015 years 9 months ago

The problem of crimes committed by young people are being ignored by parents, the community, judges, and to a great extent, the legal eagles of court appointed attorneys.

Everyone is entitled to a proper defense, but when a person has committed numerous crimes, and plea bargained down to spitting on the sidewalk, the community is not served. Many times a dangerous individual is bonded out before the victim of crimes has finished doing the report the police need.

At the same time, that same community refuses to take any responsibility for a proper upbringing. This has no economic implications, because teaching upright behavior doesn’t cost a dime. Midnight basketball only serves as a diversion from the proper behavior of being in bed preparing for work or school.

“You’d be surprised how many young people are waiting to hear words of love,”. No doubt about it. But all too often, parents blame everyone but themselves for their lack of jobs, lack of applying themselves in being a role model, when it’s easier to blame “the man”.

Things will only change when parents gain self respect, a sense of family, and earning an honest living that their children can see and learn from.

One example is the “Pigford Farm” settlement with black farmers who were discriminated against by the government concerning loans. When you see a “Church” being used to scam the government by people who have never farmed a day of their lives and lying to make illicit monies the children see it and emulate it.

It’s time to take account of behavior that leads to goodness, rather than scamming for a free ride.

If not, welcome to Detroit.

Guest Reply Redux
2015 years 9 months ago

Fill us in with the details about this Hanky-Panky (Pants Down) ordeal guesty.

2015 years 9 months ago

Allegedly $affo was caught while with another woman that was not his wife. He currently isn’t living in his mansion in Landfall, but has moved in with his mommy & daddy. He has updated his voter registration card to reflect the new address.

Guest Reply Redux
2015 years 9 months ago

Thanks for the alleged report guesty.
Ha! A City Mayor living at home with Mommy and Daddy huh? A good place to hide out from the public eye (if it’s true of course).
Wait a minute…Saffo stays out of the public eye anyway doesn’t he? Unless he’s trying to build a hotel or ball park not needed…or not seen or heard making public comments on the crime balloon in Wilmington…standing alongside the Police Chief.
Never mind :-(

2015 years 9 months ago

Go to this story and you can find his real name in the 3rd paragraph down.

Then go to the New Hanover County Voter Registration and put in his first and last name

And this is what you will see:

Below is your voter information as it appears in on your voter record

Street Address: 1974 HILLSBORO RD
Zip Code: 28403
Gender: Male
Race: White
Ethnicity: Not Hispanic or Not Latino
Voter Reg. Number: 000000034080
Registration Date: 03/17/1978
Precinct: W31
Eligible To Vote?: Yes

And one look on Google maps will tell you that address is not in Landfall, where his house and wife currently live.

Mr $affo, care to comment on why you are living with mommy and daddy and not your wife?

Guest Reply Redux
2015 years 9 months ago

…couldn’t have done a better research job guesty!
WWAY…hire this guy/or gal!
But from Landfall to Forest Hills? Not zackly a step down huh?
Public Information website:

2015 years 9 months ago

Only now he is surrounded by common people, not protected behind the Landfall wall and security.

2015 years 9 months ago

I will give you some strategies for dealing with the punk thug gang members. When you get them blow their &^%*(& heads off! I keep waiting for vigilante justice to come into play. How much are people expected to take from these pieces of crap before enough is enough? Police can’t do it alone. I say clean the streets every night of these cretins. Pretty soon they will get the message. These people are such a waste of humanity.

2015 years 9 months ago

Simply declare open season on any thug-looking punk that is on the street one half hour after sunset.


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