Local News

S. Wilmington St. Merchants Team Up to Clean Up

Posted January 25, 1998

— Anyone walking along South Wilmington Street in Raleigh might be surprised to see a clean, quiet, working community these days. What's no longer visible is broken glass and boarded windows.

Crime is down in the business district, and people say police patrols are making a big difference.

What has really impressed business owners is the immediate response of the Raleigh police. Two months ago merchants joined forces because they had experienced dozens of break-ins. As a unified force, they asked police for help, and got it. Now, the business owners in this area who we talked to say they have been crime free.

Eric Pounds was shocked when his truck was stolen from the parking lot at the company where he works, but said he was even more surprised when police quickly located and returned it.

Raleigh police are spending more time handling crimes on South Wilmington Street. Last month business owners who were concerned about the break-ins met with Police Chief Mitch Brown. Joseph Woodward was at that meeting. He says the response was good.

Police gave business owners tips on how to step up their own security, such as posting "no trespassing" signs. The merchants' group sent a letter to the police department authorizing them to arrest anyone found trespassing after hours. Police have also increased their visibility in the area, and that gives merchants such as Thomas Cook peace of mind.

Police say those merchants who work hard at making their businesses run smoothly have brought about some welcome changes. Business owner Stewart Hill says he feels much better knowing his customers' cars are safer.

Chief Brown has asked business owners to meet with him next Tuesday to assess the progress of their efforts.

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