While crime has been spiking within Wilmington’s affordable housing communities, experts say it’s outsiders—not residents—who are perpetrating it. Yesterday, the Wilmington Housing Authority’s board of commissioners held a special meeting to update safety policies within its communities. As early as next week, public housing residents may be required to submit their identity information to a law enforcement database. This means that when police are called to a housing community, they’ll be able to instantly determine who lives there--and who’s trespassing.
Every public housing resident over the age of ten will also have to carry an Authority photo ID card bearing his or her name and address, at all times. Jeff Hovis, chair of the Authority’s board, says the Authority will soon vote on additional safety measures including public housing curfews, mandatory vehicle registration, and "trespass lists" that will ban specific individuals from entering housing communities.
"We want to give the police the tools so they can better service our residents. And if they know who should be there, then that helps. And the officers that go to our sites already know a lot of our residents."
Hovis says the Authority is also seeking input from community residents on ways they can inform police of troublesome activity without becoming targets of violence. Last night, the Authority held a special meeting with residents of Creekwood—the site of a string of recent shootings.
"Our goal is to just to emphasize that there’s been some bad things go on. And we just want people to understand that we need their assistance so that we can prevent that from happening in other neighborhoods."
Hovis says that Authority members, along with Wilmington Police officers, plan to soon meet with residents of other subsidized housing communities within the city.