NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – New Hanover County Sheriff Ed McMahon and Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous have seen a lot of each other in the past few weeks.
"We joked the other day, I think we talk to each other more than we talk to our spouses," said McMahon in an interview Thursday afternoon.
The two law enforcement leaders gathered outside of New Hanover High School to discuss a recent uptick in community violence.
Both sheriff's deputies and WPD patrol officers currently keep an eye on the high school during school days.
"We're going to do whatever it takes," said McMahon. "We've got the SROs in the school and on the perimeter. We've got officers and deputies patrolling the outer areas."
Outer areas like the corner of 12th and Chestnut are just blocks away from the high school campus. It's the same site where a gang related shooting happened two weeks ago and a stabbing the day after.
Patrols in the area have increased due to the violence according to both McMahon and Evangelous.
One student said the violence was not causing too much of a concern.
"You hear about it. Like there's gossip in the hallways and all that, but you don't see it. You don't see fights or any of that," explained Megan Wood, a junior at New Hanover.
The New Hanover County Sheriff's Office recently confirmed that over 20 validated gang members were attending the high school.
"If they don't do anything at school why should you be worried?" questioned Wood.
Chief Evangelous said that no student or parent needs to fear for their personal safety.
"This is the most heavily protected area of the city. It's the safest area in the city right now," stated Evangelous. "I don't expect any problems here during school hours."
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