Report says crime is down

April 22, 2008 5:30:28 PM PDT
Durham police say crime is down, but more officers are leaving Durham's police department for better paying jobs, with many ending up working for other police departments in the Triangle.

A new police report suggests while murders are up in Durham, more homicides are being solved and most other crimes are down.

"They're trending down, but they're still too high," Durham City Council member, Eugene Brown said.

Brown says the stats may do little to change the public's perception.

According to Police Chief Jose Lopez, safety is not being compromised.

Part of the solution Lopez says, may come down to dollars and cents.

The department is constantly losing officers to other higher paying police forces in the Triangle; about ten are expected to leave this month.

Durham officers start out at $36,000 and pay raises are hard to come by.

Durham officers making top pay earn about $60,000 a year. A new officer hoping to earn the same has to wait about 20 years.

"The reality is that we may never be able to truly pay someone, at least so that they can raise their families comfortably," Lopez said.

City leaders will soon tackle next year's budget and keeping Durham's finest in full force is a top priority.

"No one likes a tax increase, but if it's necessary for a tax increase, we have to do it," Brown said.


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