Durham PD: Grim crime stats, frayed community relations

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Troubling crime numbers in Durham.

Durham's newly-released 1st Quarter Crime Report shows a 7 percent uptick in violent crime, most of it occurring in the north and central sections of the city. Property crimes, such as burglaries, were down 15 percent.

There is no metric to measure the relationship between the community and the police department. But from the sound of things inside City Hall on Monday night, there's work do there as well.

"Money for jobs and education, not for cops and incarceration!" protesters chanted outside City Council chambers.

They chanted so loudly, they could be heard clearly inside the meeting.

A few dozen demonstrators came armed with a litany of complaints about Durham PD. Many are angry about the city's plans to build a new $80 million police headquarters on East Main Street, instead of new investments in public education.

The protests were a glaring example of the disconnect between many in the community and DPD.

But as Cerelyn Davis, the city's incoming police chief watched silently from the audience, the protests quieted and the interim police chief delivered the sobering new crime numbers to City Council.


There have been 11 homicides so far this year, up 10 percent. There have been 23 rapes reported, a 35 percent spike. A total of 192 robberies have occurred, a 22 percent increase. Aggravated assaults are down 2 percent compared to a year ago.

Grim-faced city council members heard the report and could only ask, why? Or as Mayor Pro-Tem Cora Cole-McFadden put it to the interim chief, "What's causing this?"

"I wish I had an answer to that. I don't," interim chief Larry Smith said. "I think we all know there's multiple causes to this, everything from fatherlessness, to poverty, to lack of education."

Earlier Monday, ABC11 was granted its first one-on-one interview with the city's soon to be top cop.

As Davis received an earful Monday night from a community fed up with crime and frayed relations with its police department, Davis was asked about her plan to heal the divide.

"You have to build relationships that are not superficial," Davis said. "They have to be sincere relationships; that you're working on a problem that we realize needs to be solved within the community."

Tonight marked Smith's final public presentation before he steps down at the beginning of June. Incoming Chief Davis is set to take over the department on June 6. She pledged Monday to hit the ground running.

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