make WWAY your homepage  Become a fan on facebook  Follow us on twitter  Receive RSS Newsfeeds  MEMBERS: Register | Login

Downtown Wilmington police authority

On any given Friday or Saturday night you can see plenty of Wilmington police downtown. Now, one local organization is working to give those officers more authority. The Wilmington Police Department dedicates as much as 10% of its force to monitor downtown on the weekends. Those police officers, however, have no authority inside many local bars. The executive director of the group, Wilmington Downtown, is proposing giving Wilmington police jurisdiction within all downtown bars. Wilmington officers currently monitor the streets, but they cannot go into bars and clubs that have a membership list. John Hinnant said the idea is to improve the relationship between local establishments, and the police department. Hinnant stated, “It's a matter of developing a more proactive, positive, working relationship. That way if an incident occurs on Friday night, on Saturday morning the officer can call the owner or the operator of the bar.” Hinnant said alcohol law enforcement is currently stretched too thin, with only eight officers covering seven counties. Under his proposal, money previously given to the state for liquor licenses would be used to support local police. Managers and owners of several downtown bars and restaurants said they all would be in support of the proposal.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.


In the city I live in,

In the city I live in, officers are required at all downtown venues. I feel pretty safe going downtown, and the officers for the most part are approachable and friendly. The officers are also backed up by a private security force on bicycles, all equipped with police radios. Wilmington can follow the same policy as I'm sure there are enough off-duty officers willing to work overtime. Just my .02

I agree with the statement

I agree with the statement about the bars not being the problem b/c they are not....the ghetto is creeping into the nice part of downtown and destroying what is still somewhat of a growing area.....ive lived here my whole life and you didnt go down or you could until recently could go and feel safe....there are only a few bar/clubs that need to have the focus on them...which is only like 4 ....thats 4 out of 30....the cops need to be on foot patroling the out skirts of town in the dark where these crimes are happing not in front of the city saloon staring at girls.....seriously how hard could this solution possibly be?????????

City Limits

First you should know that the cops that stand there "looking at all the pretty girls" are being paid by City Limits to stand in front of their business. Thats right, a downtown bar that is PROACTIVE in reducing problems. City Limits HIRES two Police Officers to stand there and keep the problems away AT NO COST TO YOU the taxpayer. They should be commended for their actions. So get over your high and mighty self and do a little research before posting that you have solved the downtown areas bar problem. City Limits beat you to it about a year ago. And let this be a wake up call to the City council and the Chief, I'm tired out dedicating all of our Police resources to handle these drunks. When are you going to take a lesson from City Limits and require a bar to at least attempt to hire some form of Police or legit security (Interpol need not apply)? Example, if your building occupancy is over 200 then thats one Cop, over 300 2 Cops, over 400 3 Cops. No cost to the taxpayer, more presence downtown.No more problems at ROX. Sounds better than Guest 9999999's idea but then again he/she has already solved it by moving all of the Police to the "darkened outskirts" to catch criminals. And yes, the girls are hot.

Downtown Bars/Police

This story leaves out a bit of important information that helps make more sense out the situation. Local police do not have jurisdiction in the downtown bars because in North Carolina all bars must be a private club, thus preventing police from going inside unless the bar/security call them. That would be just fine if the bars would actually do that, however, if the police have to go to a bar too many times they will get shut down, as if the loss of business wouldn't be detrimental enough. If the private club/membership laws enforced by the ALE were lifted, the local police could do their jobs with a lot less hassle. It's not that the police don't feel up to the task of confronting certain individuals, its just that when they are inside a private club the cops can't do anything. I personally would feel safer in the downtown area if I knew that the police were capable of doing the job they were hired to do and protect the public.

Bars - Police - Crime?

I live in California and will soon relocate to Wilmington, as I own a home there. I'm shocked that local police cannot go into bars because they are private and; that they can only go inside at the request of the bar management. Now I understand why there is so much crime around the downtown area. Without police enforcement inside where illegal activity can occur without concern of having the police spoil the party, we seem to be inviting crime to occur. I know I'm new to North Carolina and should not apply my standards just because they are different, but the law prohibiting police from doing their job seems way out of date. Additionally, when you compare per capita crime statistics with extremely high crime cities such as Oakland and Richmond California, Wilmington ranks in the same tier as those two very dangerous cities. I love Wilmington and look forward to retiring in your fine city, but truthfully, something needs to be done about crime in the city, especially downtown.

Bars aren't the problem

As someone who lives downtown, I'm disappointed to see the police continue to focus on the bars as the problem. The majority of the serious crimes are taking place on the dark, lightly patrolled streets of the residential areas surrounding the bar district. The bar patrons aren't the perpetrators, but the victims. The police in this town need to be walking - not driving - those streets. Put them on bike or horseback if need be, but they need to be out in force on the streets where people are being murdered, raped and mugged. The downtown businesses can take care of themselves.

The problem is not the bars

The problem is not the bars its the police...they are afraid to say or do things to certain people with the fear of the race card being pulled out....which is bs...we need zero tolerance down there or its gonna go back to how it was...heres a senario: if a homless or black person walks on the street with a beer..the officer says pour it out haggles them for a minute and then tells them to walk if you or i do we get aticket b/c we look like we can pay our court say thats not true......


Do you remember what Hinnant stated? “It's a matter of developing a more proactive, positive, working relationship. That way if an incident occurs on Friday night, on Saturday morning the officer can call the owner or the operator of the bar.” Well the bars already have security guards. Plus the Police Department dedicates 10% of its force. In my opinion, if something happens in the bar the security guards can hand the ones acting up over to the authorities. In my opinion, it's just another way for the law to enforce there authority on people.

The proposal does sound

The proposal does sound pretty reasonable. Though, in my opinion it's just another way for the department to try to enforce there authority. Plus I think that the bars could possibly lose business.

Trust me....

...the Police don't want this problem. The Police could care less if the downtown Bar scene fell off of the face of the earth. Most Police would love not to have to stand around downtown herding drunks into Cabs. To say that "they just want to enforce their authority" is a simple mided statement that must have been written upon arriving home from the Rox last friday night. (dont drink and post). Having said that Bocephus it should be known, from a Police perspective, that the Bar Owners for the most part are not the problem , it is their clients.

The streets are the problem

The bars are not the places where these crimes are happening and the crowds there are not the criminals. It is the criminals who wait and pray on the very people you want to police more. The police do need to be on foot, bike or horse what ever happened to walking the beat. We need better lighting in the alleys beside the bars so you are not just a target.