Three months into his new administration Mayor Dennis Williams is giving Wilmington an opportunity to get up close and personal with him and the leaders who help run the city.
The City of Wilmington kicked off its first of four town hall meetings to take place all this week. More than 40 people who gathered at Wilmington’s Police Athletic League came with questions and concerns, most of them addressed crime and the city’s youth.
“We need to deal with our youth because at some point they are going to be in charge of us one day, and we want to make sure that they are positive, that they know the right things to do, and that they can help run this city that’s going to be theirs,” said resident Pauline Addison.
Addison applauds the Williams Administration for its transparency, but says she would also like to see things move forward with crime.
According to Mayor Williams, to date, there have already been a large number of arrests as well as guns and drugs taken off the streets.
“We haven’t been in office yet for 80 days and we’re doing a good job and we’re cleaning up the streets. My office is getting responses from the community in places where they never respected the police before,” Williams said.
A panel of senior city officials from the Office of Economic Development to Parks and Recreation informed residents of future projects and initiatives designed to help improve Wilmington. The Parks and Recreation Department for an example is looking to help employ more youth.
“We’re taking recreation as a method to be intervention and prevention for our young people,” Director Claude McCrea said.
A mobile strike force is in the works at the police department according to Wilmington Police Chief Christine Dunning who declined to say when and where officers will target since there could be criminals tracking officers every move.
“For my officers, it’s a little bit discouraging when you lock someone up for a shooting and they make bail and they walk on the street. They don’t have to listen to victims who call me and cry on the phone because they seen that guy walking out there on the street. We are going to arrest the offenders but it’s going to have to be a more holistic approach,” Dunning said.
Meanwhile the town hall meetings will take place in each of the city’s four regions. On Tuesday residents can attend the Quaker Hilll Meeting House, then the Latin American Community Center on Wednesday. The last town meeting will be held on Thursday at the Walnut Street YMCA.
“You can have any administration but the community knows what’s going on in the community, and knows what needs to be done, and with that collaboration it can only get better,” Addison said.