RIDE-ALONG: WWAY gets officer’s view of downtown following reported assaults


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Have you ever wondered what a night in the life of Wilmington police officers is like?

After a string of reported assaults on men, some of them sexual, WWAY rode around with an officer to find out what they see.

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“Unfortunately, there’s no RSVP for ‘I’m coming downtown tonight,’ so we can decide how many cops we’re going to actually need,” Sgt. Victor Baughman said.

When the weekend hits, it often gets busier.

“There’s no way of knowing how many people are going to show up,” he said.

WWAY rode the streets with Baughman to see what goes on after dark.

“There’s overcrowding in there, which causes people to bump into each other and once again, cause more fights,” Baughman said. “Once again, that’s one of the biggest issues, probably the biggest issue downtown.”

As the night goes on, the problems tend to get worse.

“Just while we were riding around, I saw three or four females by themselves,” he said. “They weren’t on front street, they were on the 200 block of orange. it’s just not a good idea you know.”

Safety concerns at a high right now for everyone.

Wilmington Police are investigating 11 assaults, some sexual, of men throughout downtown Wilmington.

No matter who you are, Baughman says you need to be careful.

“It’s not a good idea to be walking around alone.”

With the crowds, it’s easy to lose your group. Once the clock strikes midnight, Baughman says the mood changes.

“Between 1:45 and 2 o’clock, all the bars are letting out at the same time and all the people that are there that stay until two in the morning, are the most intoxicated ones,” he said.

He says South Front and Market Streets are where the people pile up. The more people, the more potential for problems.

“The amount of people,” he said. “The level of intoxication. Yhe different cultures colliding.”

Over the years, Baughman says they’ve stationed more and more officers downtown and it’s made a difference.

At the end of the night, he says they all just want one thing.

“Get home,” he said. “That’s all we want. We just want people to go home.”

The downtown task force is made up of officers from Wilmington Police and the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office.

The police department is still investigating the string of assaults. They say the incidents date back to January of last year.