As summer arrives, public housing officers make safety a priorit - WDAM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

As summer arrives, public housing officers make safety a priority

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The Housing Authority is committed to expanding that view to continue keeping tabs on illegal activity. (Source: WECT) The Housing Authority is committed to expanding that view to continue keeping tabs on illegal activity. (Source: WECT)
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WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) -

Law enforcement officers in the Wilmington area want to make sure this summer isn't as violent as the summer of 2013.

Sergeant Matt Ingram, an officer with the Wilmington Police Department, and Jeff Hovis, Chairman of the Wilmington Housing Authority Board, visited several of the Port City's housing developments Wednesday night to assess safety.

"We've seen changes that we've not seen in as long as we can remember on public housing property in the last nine or 10 months so we don't know what's going to happen. We're anticipating a little bit of an uptick in activity," Ingram stated.

He said that so far, this appears to be a safer summer than the one prior.

"We came through the end of last summer in an extremely violent time in the City of Wilmington for residents, for us and right now we're really in a lull and we want to keep it that way," Ingram added.

Ingram said law enforcement still sees the most activity in Creekwood and Houston Moore.

"We've tried hard to remove the visual decay that was present," Ingram explained.

Their clean-up effort is well under way as patrols move through neighborhoods, interacting with residents.

"Activity's dropped to an all-time low. These things we're seeing tonight, are things you wouldn't see a year ago," said Ingram referencing children playing outside in the Creekwood community.

The police sergeant said 2013's summer of violence was one factor that prompted a harder crackdown on housing rules. He said the one of the most important rules is keeping unwanted visitors out of the housing communities.

"Those people that are causing those problems that stem from people just hanging around are happening by people who don't actually live there," Ingram explained; however, he said there is still plenty of illegal activity in the developments.

"There's no doubt that criminal activity is still going on, but a lot of it is not out in plain view," he said.

That's why the Housing Authority is committed to expanding that view to continue keeping tabs on illegal activity.

"Lighting's coming. Once we have it in, we're going to ask for input for where we need to see more. I'd like to see cameras. I'd like to see effective cameras," said Hovis.

Teamed with the New Hanover County Sheriff's Office, the WPD and housing authority are committed to keeping this summer a safe one.

"Everybody's happier, everybody's safer, and that's our goal right now- public safety," Ingram expressed.

Hovis echoed those sentiments.

"It's not going to be something that we just stop. We're going to keep going and it needs to actually expand."

Copyright 2014 WECT. All rights reserved.

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