New report shows violent crime in Durham up in 2015

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Interim Police Chief Larry Smith presents his report in front of the city council (WTVD)

New numbers out show violent crime in Durham was up 18 percent in 2015.

Interim Police Chief Larry Smith presented the 4th quarter crime numbers for 2015 for Durham's city council Monday night.

The report states that the 18 percent increase was driven by a double digit rise in reported aggravated assaults, robberies, and homicides.

In 2014, Durham had 22 homicides. That number jumped to 37 in 2015. Chief Smith said 26 of those homicides have been cleared.

The report also shows property crimes are down by 4 percent since 2014. Those crimes includes burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft.

On response times in 2015, officers had a target goal of responding to calls in 5 minutes. They did not reach this goal and instead averaged 6.3 minutes. However the number of calls for service increased by 23 percent. This is something Interim Chief Smith attributes to growth in the city and staffing issues.

"We're losing on average about five officers a month so 12 times 5 that's 60, so all the time that we have officers in training, there are officers leaving, retiring, going to another job, any number of reasons people leave so we're always trying to play catch up," said Smith.

He also said they did recently receive room in the budget to increase staff. He also said there is talk of possible restructuring in the department when a new police chief is hired, which he hopes will bring overall better numbers for 2016.

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