WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Wilmington's police chief says there has been a significant decrease in violent crime in the past month, especially in housing authority developments.
Chief Ralph Evangelous says that's both because of the hard work of law enforcement officers and also the work of the Wilmington Housing Authority to make sure both new and old policies are enforced.
"People are realizing we are serious about this, and with the housing authority stepping up and initiating evictions, people understand that you are either going to live by the rules or you are out and we are arresting these trespassers and it may be a misdemeanor, but they are going to jail. Sometimes we are arresting them multiple times over the same day. They get released and then they are back out there so we are arresting them again," said Chief Evangelous. "It's making a difference."
One of the policies he says that is helping step up enforcement of the no trespass list is making sure people that shouldn't be in the development are arrested. The police chief also says having the same officers patrol the street every single day of the week is making a difference.
Housing Authority Board Chairman Jeff Hovis says he's also noticed a difference, both in crime and in the way residents are acting. He says he's seen many people out and about making sure their yards are clean.
The Housing Authority says they have been visiting every unit and inspecting it. Tenants that fail the inspection are evicted.
Some residents say the evictions are going to the extreme. Mary Houseworth says she and her neighbors are glad people who have illegal drugs or are breaking the law are evicted. But she says some of the evictions for housekeeping reasons are not fair.
"It's not right," Houseworth said. "It's really degrading trying to kick all of these kids out. It's hard to keep a house spotless when you have kids with no toys no nothing on the floor 24/7. I have two kids and I know how it is and I can only imagine what it's like for the mothers that have more."
She says she was evicted yesterday for failing a housekeeping inspection, and says the reason she was given for failing was "clutter."
Her home was clean when we paid a visit on Thursday, but she says during the inspection she had clothes and bedding everywhere.
Houseworth claims that she had just had her house treated for bed bugs and didn't have time to put everything away before the inspection occurred.
She says she was promised a re-inspection but never got one, just an eviction notice. She says it's not fair that she was evicted for something like this. She says when she went to the property manager she was told to file an appeal, which Housworth says she was doing.
Hovis said that since the homes are federally funded they need to stay clean.
He says other polices they are working to put into place are a curfew, a no smoking policy and making sure abandoned cars are towed.
As part of the curfew policy, people under 18 will be required to be home at a certain time. On week nights they will need to by home by 10 p.m. and on weekends 11 p.m.
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