Port City United discusses the department’s goals tackling violence in the community
NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — “Port City United” is a new department created earlier this year with the goal of identifying, and preventing violent acts from happening. Members of the PCU’s team held a roundtable on Friday.
The development of Port City United was announced in February, with a goal of reducing violence, and providing connections and resources for individuals and families. Port City United will have a team of outreach workers working in New Hanover County neighborhoods with a history of violence. There will also be a call center for anonymous reports of violence or concerns, that will monitor social media for potential threats. the department will also connect community resource coordinators with schools to help students and families receive access to services.
“We’re trying to help people in poverties, marginalized, at-risk communities evolve out of their situation, and in hopes of being able to do that at a high level, and we hope that we can see a reflection in the numbers lessening, when it comes to violence around this town,” said Cedric Harrison, Port City United director.
The team is comprised of county residents with deep ties to the communities they plan to focus on, some with criminal records and gang affiliations. They believe it will help them develop a sense trust with residents.
PCU director, and New Hanover County Native, Cedric Harrison, shared his personal experience with violence, and why Port City United’s initiatives are needed. Harrison was shot in February on North 31st Street.
“The location where I was shot, it was like 7:00pm at there was no street lights, and then a week before that my friend was killed in the same area, and even since both of our shootings have happened in that area, nothing has happened to that street to make it safer,” said Harrison.
Harrison says Port City United hopes to launch its initiatives over the next few months.
“We’re hoping that by the third week of May, our violence interrupters and outreach workers will be in neighborhoods passing out flyers, and advertisement,” said Harrison. “Marketing things we’re trying to do, and hopefully and at the top of June, we’re hoping that our connect center will be having their phones blown off the hooks.”
Port City United will have team members visiting Wilmington Housing Authority apartment complexes, like Houston Moore, Creekwood, and Rankin Terrace. They will also canvass neighborhoods around Snipe School, Rachel Freeman School of Engineering, And Williston Middle School.