Wilmington launches loitering program

    A Wilmington Councilman hopes a new twist on an old sign can help police keep city streets safer.

    A Wilmington City Councilman hopes two words will help rid city neighborhoods of criminals.

    Councilman Michael Brown has announced that starting immediately the message “Ask Them” will be added to “No Loitering” signs in high-crime neighborhoods.

    Brown says the purpose is to eliminate people who jump on other people’s porches or stoops to avoid being questioned by police, claiming they’re on private property.

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    The new signs will give police permission to question loiterers.

    “Ask them, ask them to show you an ID,” Brown said. “I think these knuckleheads, these drug dealers, they’ll look up at that window and say ‘I can’t hang out here, I’ve got to move on.'”
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    Brown does not agree with critics who claim there could be retaliation against those who put the signs in their window and that the signs could lead to civil rights issues.

    He says it’s simply a matter of safety.

    “I don’t care how the ACLU looks at it,” said Brown. “I don’t care what the critics say. We’re trying to be supportive of our men and women in blue and give them the tools to help them help us. To rid these thugs out of our neighborhoods.”

    A six-month pilot program will focus on West Center City, but Brown says anyone in the city can request a sign by calling Constituent Services at 576-2489.

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