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YOUR VOICE YOUR VOTE: Council candidates discuss ideas for fighting Wilmington's gang problem

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The election for Wilmington City Council is less than four weeks away, so we decided to ask the candidates for their ideas about fighting gang violence in the Port City.

Derek Bickel: "We need to try to break the cycle and get these kids hope and a future. And doing something like this DREAMS program or programs that are like that, I think that's a great step forward to getting to these children as young as possible so the gangs to not get them first."

Felix Cooper: "One of the things we might be able to do would be to consolidate the city police department and the county sheriff's department and provide more on-site or available law enforcement officers. And I think we've got to clamp down on some of these minor crimes that turn into these major crimes."

Kevin O'Grady: "The solution, and the chief will say, you can't arrest yourself out of these problems. You've got to deal with the cause, and that's where we have to get to to get to the hopelessness that we find in urban youth."

Charlie Rivenbark: "We're going to get the bad guys. I don't know how else to say it. We're going to get these people off the street, and we're going to do it as quickly as possible. And the chief of police and the sheriff of the county are working together closely to coordinate that very task, and we're going to get it done."

Skip Watkins: "We cannot investigate and incarcerate our way out of it. We've got to bring social change to the community, and that's going to take everybody from the commission to the council to the school board to the business leaders and the citizens. We've got to go to the streets and bring athletic, academic and artistic programs to bring young people some hope."

We tried reaching council member Earl Sheridan and Mayor Bill Saffo, but we have not heard back from them yet.

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2things: Unless and until

2things: Unless and until the parents take the responsibility and accountability of their kids, arts and crafts and "we'll get it done," doesn't mean a thing. Kids are not born knowing how to stay away from trouble, they have to be taught. If the parents won't take that responsibility, kids will wander astray - they have to be taught. Teachers can help, pastors can help, neighbors can help, but the responsibility is still on the parents to enforce what they, the teachers, pastors, and well-meaning people can teach them. Parents are key to this - it's not rocket science to understand that.

Next: Law enforcement works very hard in our city and county, with LOTS of overtime to arrest the thugs that do the crimes, and who also will seek out the stray kids to add them to their pack; but the court system and the lawyers will make deals that gets the thugs right back out on the streets, often in record time! Does anyone really think that teaches the thugs not to go back out and do the same thing again? On the contrary, it teaches them the short cuts to take for the next time the lawman comes to arrest them. Law Enforcement alone can not get control of the bad guys until the parents, lawyers, and the court system takes the responsibility to do their jobs. If they do their jobs, Law Enforcement will get easier when the thugs remain in jail and unable to prey on the kids; and the kids won't be out on the streets to become the hunted prey of the thugs.

No one said it would be easy, but Law Enforcement NEEDS the help of parents, lawyers, AND the court system to work with them if we are EVER to see a turnaround. Parents apparently need a constant reminder that they have the ultimate responsibility of control here. I hope this will be a start for them to think about this - again, it's not rocket science, people!!!

Wow. Thanks for your "in

Wow. Thanks for your "in depth" coverage.

3rd Grader answers...by all!

"We tried reaching council member Earl Sheridan and Mayor Bill Saffo, but we have not heard back from them yet."
Then....
"We tried reaching council member Earl Sheridan and Mayor Bill Saffo, but we have not heard back from them yet."
You know...
"We tried reaching council member Earl Sheridan and Mayor Bill Saffo, but we have not heard back from them yet."
Don't know how else to get a response...
"We tried reaching council member Earl Sheridan and Mayor Bill Saffo, but we have not heard back from them yet."
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You folks in Wilmington getting the big picture yet about your Mayor?????
There's no $$$ in it!

Cancel The Gunshow

I wish I could trace back the number of guns used in crimes in the city of Wilmington to the GUN AND KNIFE SHOW that's held every other month at the National Guard Armory. Just pumping more guns continuously on the streets. Hey, there's another GUN AND KNIFE SHOW coming up this month October 19th-20th. Just in time to put more guns back on the streets. Nobody wants to pull the curtain on this show, thus gun violence will flourish.

Gun Show

You have no idea what your talking about. I got news for you. The thugs usually don't buy their guns legally. Think about it!

Unity in the city will save our youth

Skip, Derek & Felix offered good solutions. City wide involvement and putting money in the budget to put basketball courts back in the parks around the city, as well as supporting more non profit organizations.

new council candidate?

Are you talking about people running for council? I would like to know who they are and what their ideas are before I vote. I will not vote for an incumbent but I don't want to vote another Brian Berger in. However, I will if that's the only way to get rid of the current council.

Solutions

I'm sorry. It's not our job to give thugs hope and 30 is not a kid. That was their parents' job. Now we need to protect the tax paying, law abiding citizens of this city from them.

I don't wake up every day with hope. I wake up every day with responsibilities and deadlines and many times that's the only thing that drives me. They're hopeless because they're useless. They waste their time and they waste their lives and somewhere along the line that behavior was learned. They need responsibilities and families need to expect more and require more of them.

Some of the solutions given are ridiculous. We just may be on the way to becoming a little Detroit if this is seriously the best we've got.

Well said!! Let's start

Well said!!

Let's start by eliminating the "projects"! So called "govt housing" (Affordable Housing is a politicians' spin). Integration into society thru personal responsibilty. Why segregate people into the projects where drugs,unemployment, and apathy abound. It's too easy to just exist in these enclaves where a subsistence level of living is eeked out with free housing, food stamps, phones,...etc..subsidize this, and that (all tax payer money). How about 'owning' the decisions you make in life! The private sector is quite capable of building affordable apartments and homes that are paid for with hard work, not 'freebies' offered by politicians for votes!

need to meet new candidates

We need a forum with these candidates so we can get to know the new ones. I would hope another Brian Berger does not get elected. I assure you if it is a current council member's name on the ballot I will NOT VOTE FOR AN INCUMBANT!!! Need to get their names and faces out in the public. Time to clean house.

Simple idea to fix the gang/crime problem...

Here's an idea! Make the county jail a JAIL not a country club!!! Our county jail is downright a pleasant place to stay! Hear me out...
These inmates get 4 hours outside their cell per day to play basketball, board games and watch cable tv with their best buddies all at taxpayers expense. Cut back on the cable, make THEM pay for the games, basketballs, books, etc. that get torn up, flushed, and otherwise destroyed because inmates don't pay for them. Inmates get free if next to nothing healthcare. Do you, the taxpayer have that luxury? Inmates do!! Why would they pay if they can go to jail and get it free! Inmates get 3 meals a day...cut back on quality while still meeting nutritional minimums.
Heck!! They even have a laundry service and get fresh clothes washed and delivered to them!
Inmates in that jail are treated like hotel guests! IT'S NOT AN UNPLEASANT PLACE!! Make the jail a JAIL and this will help discourage crime!!! Really, go take a tour of the jail and see for yourself!! This will also save taxpayer dollars that could be otherwise much better spent!