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CoastLine is a variety news show, which airs Wednesdays from 12pm - 1pm on WHQR.Every week, we’ll look into issues that matter in the Cape Fear Region. Host Rachel Lewis Hilburn will interview expert guests and invite you to join the conversation.

CoastLine: Gang Violence — After All the Community Conversations, What Have We Learned?

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This broadcast of CoastLine originally aired on July 9, 2014.   

Gang violence in our region: After all the community conversations, what have we learned? Are there new, best practices that we're implementing? What's already working that we might expand? How can we improve and refine our approach? 

Gang violenceand the steady conversion of at-risk children into gang membersis an issue that is on the rise across the country.  Gun violence within Wilmington City limits has crept into neighborhoods that haven’t previously seen this kind of activity.  

Senate Bill 594 is now making its way through the legislature.  Entitled Omnibus Justice Amendments, the legislation would allow for tougher sentences for those carrying illegal firearms.  Some law enforcement officials have hailed the proposal as an important tool on the enforcement end. 

But, the enforcement piece is only one component of what community leaders say must be a multi-faceted solution.    

It was near the end of 2013 that Wilmington City Manager Sterling Cheatham spear-headed a series of public forums to address the spike in gun-related violence that captured local headlines between October and December of last year.   Compiling conclusions from those conversations, Cheatham called the key recommendations “some of the most reasonable thoughts from active community participants who have their ears to the ground and their hearts set on change.”

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Listen to the first segment of CoastLine featuring New Hanover County Sheriff Ed McMahon and Program Coordinator Kristy Williams here.
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Listen to Segment 2 featuring NAACP President Deborah Dicks Maxwell of the New Hanover County Chapter.
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Listen to Segment 3 featuring Frankie Roberts, Executive Director of LINC, Leading Into New Communities here.