WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Nearly two weeks after Wilmington's police chief and the New Hanover County Sheriff announced a joint enforcement plan, officers and deputies hit the streets together Friday night.
Thirty-two officers from the police department and 32 deputies from the sheriff's office will partner up to go out on the streets.
"How this works is non-uniformed personnel within both agencies have been assigned to work together out there for extra patrol in and around the community, robbery suppression and these other issues," Police Chief Ralph Evangelous said.
A few community members told us they do not think this will have any effect on crime, some said they feel safer already after noticing increased patrols since a deputy was shot in Creekwood earlier this month, other say they like the idea of the joint patrols.
"I think it'll be a good thing, because it'll keep a lot of the violence down and keep a lot of the thugs off the streets," said Mark Walker, who lives near Creekwood. "It'll leave the neighborhood a lot safer."
Evangelous says that the high crime rate and gang activity is more than a police problem; it is a community problem and he needs everyone to come forward.
"There's a lot of good people in and around some of the more troubled areas here, and all they need is the catalyst to come forward and feel that they'll be safe doing it, and we're the catalyst," Evangelous said. "We're going to be there for them to make them feel safe enough to talk to us and tell us who these bad guys are."
The chief says that long-term fixes are being considered while this short-term one goes into effect. The focus of law enforcement will be on areas of high crime, during times considered to be high risk.