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CoastLine: Crime Prevention Through Citizen Awareness

U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Laura L. Valentine
Rebecca Johnson, Wichita Police Department patrol officer and department defensive tactics instructor, demonstrates the self-defense maneuver, the “limp noodle,” during a women’s self defense class June 27, 2013, at McConnell Air Force Base.";s:3:

The City of Wilmington reported overall historic crime lows last year.  Crimes in Wilmington’s Central Business District, which used to have, according to Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous, a pretty bad reputation, have dropped since 2002 by about 75%.

Despite fewer robberies, larcenies, burglaries, and arson; however, violent crimes are ticking up.  At a January meeting of the City Council, Chief Evangelous reported the highest number of homicides during his tenure.  He attributes that rise, in part, to gang-related activity, fatal assaults, and non-criminal self-defense.  But we still have too much violence and aggravated assaults are still too high, he says. 

Law enforcement officials in the Cape Fear region, beyond Wilmington, are working to address this on a number of fronts – including by building rapport and relationships within communities.  As we’ll hear today, authorities consider citizens one of the most important elements of crime prevention, and today, we learn why.  We also learn about what a special training program to deal with an active shooter can teach us. 


Deputy Sheriff First Sergeant Billy Montjoy, Support Services Division of the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office

First Sergeant T.K. Nowell, I.M.P.A.C.T. Unit of the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office

Ed Pompey, Crime Prevention Specialist, Wilmington Police Department


New Hanover County Sheriff's Office

For information on New Hanover County Sheriff's Citizens Academy, follow this link:


For information on the programs below, please contact Cpl. D. Desso 910-798-4131, ddesso@nhcgov.com or Sgt. W. Montjoy 910-798-4245, wmontjoy@nhcgov.com.

  • R U OK program (senior citizens)
    Contacting an elderly person, homebound individual helps to reassure their well being and give them a feeling of security. The Are You OK?® telephone reassurance system eases the concern of friends and family who may find it difficult to maintain consistent, reliable contact. An 85-year-old woman wants the independence of living alone in her home along with the security of being monitored. The RUOK® system brings a sense of comfort into every subscriber’s home.Each day at a pre-arranged time, RUOK® automatically makes these computerized monitoring calls inexpensively and without interruption to normal community services.
  • Rape Aggression Defense Class
    This course has its foundations in education and awareness. The course includes lecture, discussion and self-defense techniques suitable for women of all ages and abilities. Classes range from a minimum of nine to twelve hours plus in length, depending on the Instructor.
    R.A.D. is the largest network of its kind with over 11,000 Instructors receiving training in our systems to date.
    R.A.D. is the only existing program with a free lifetime return and practice policy, honored worldwide.
  • Community Watch
    Community Watch is a program which enlists the active participation of citizens in cooperation with law enforcement to reduce crime in their neighborhoods. It involves neighbors getting to know each other and working together for the good of the community. Residents are trained to recognize and report suspicious activities in their neighborhoods. Anyone interested should fill out the form and forward to the Crime Awareness and Prevention Unit. If a program is already in place for your neighborhood, you will be put in touch with your. If your community does not have a program in place, we will provide information to you and attend a neighborhood meeting to get you started.
  • Business Crime Prevention
    This is a program designed for retail business. It presents ways for business owners and mangers to protect themselves against loss due to crime by increasing the awareness of crimes committed against businesses and providing them with other programs directed towards business crimes.
  • Robbery Prevention
    Seminars are given to managers and employees of retail businesses. The presentation includes information on the prevention of robberies and what they should do if they are the victims of a robbery.
  • Identity Theft Program
    This is designed to make the public aware of identity theft and how to avoid becoming victims. It also informs them as to what to do if they become victims.
  • Home Land Security
    The New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office strives to provide and maintain a safe community for its citizens. Since the tragedy of September 11, 2001 the Sheriff’s Office has taken a proactive position in keeping the citizens of New Hanover County safe from the threat of terrorism, we provide information in this program that will hopefully make you aware of action you can take to protect yourself from the threat of terrorism and other disasters.
  • Security Surveys
    The New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office offers free security surveys to homeowners and businesses. A deputy will come out and inspect your home or business and recommend improvements that you can possibly make to keep you and your property safe.
  • Senior Safety Programs
    Programs cover a variety of topics including personal safety, home security, and protection against fraud and con artists.

Brunswick County Sheriff's Office:

Programs include Are You OK, Citizens Academy, Senior Citizens Academy, R.A.D. Self-Defense,


For information on Brunswick County Sheriff's Citizens Academy, follow this link:


Wilmington Police Department: 


"Fighting Crime in the Port City"

The Wilmington Police Department offers a number of crime prevention programs that help to improve safety in surrounding neighborhoods. We hope that you will take advantage of one of these programs or tell someone about them.

Residential and Business Security Surveys
Security surveys are conducted by professionally trained Crime Prevention Officers. These officers provide the latest crime prevention through environmental design tips and strategies on how to protect your home and/or business.

Robbery Training

This training allows businesses and employees to heighten their awareness while minimizing business and employee risk by training them on what to do when a robbery occurs.

Community Watch

Community Watch Groups help to educate residents about safety, while providing the Police with neighborhood support. City residents are encouraged to organize a Community Watch in their neighborhoods.

Ride-Along Program

This program allows citizens the opportunity to ride with an officer to observe and experience what policing is first hand. (Allow two weeks to process applications)

Rachel hosts and produces CoastLine, an award-winning hourlong conversation featuring artists, humanitarians, scholars, and innovators in North Carolina. The show airs Wednesdays at noon and Sundays at 2 pm on 91.3 FM WHQR Public Media. It's also available as a podcast; just search CoastLine WHQR. You can reach her at rachellh@whqr.org.
Rachel is a graduate of UNCW's Master of Public Administration program, specializing in Urban and Regional Policy and Planning. She also received a Master of Education and two Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and French Language & Literature from NC State University. She served as WHQR's News Fellow from 2017-2019. Contact her by email: rkeith@whqr.org or on Twitter @RachelKWHQR