Durham Crime Cabinet seeks solutions

April 12, 2008 10:20:49 AM PDT
Durham's top crime fighters and community leaders are meeting in one room and they are asking one question? What's next after the tragic murders of two college students?

State correction officials have already admitted to mishandling the probation cases of the suspects charged in the crimes.

Now comes the fallout, but no one's been fired.

"I'll just say we've received resignations," Robert Guy, N.C. Department of Justice, said.

While the investigation continues, an army of auditors reported to Durham this week to review how probation cases are handled in the Bull City.

"It's not about probation," Guy said.

The Crime Cabinet also talked reforms. How to keep track of young offenders like Laurence Lovette, Jr. and Demario Atwater, who had violated their probations long before they were accused in the shooting deaths of Eve Carson and Abhijit Mahato.

"If anything positive can come out of the tragedies that have occurred, I hope it will be that we can get the resources that we need because to have one segment of system unable to communicate with another so that a probation system can't access arrest records is a shame," Durham Commissioner Ellen Reckhow.

Correction officials say an automatic alert system could change that.

"But it takes money," Guy said. Money everyone at Friday's meeting agreed the General Assembly is reluctant to provide. So they [the Crime Cabinet] will join forces to not only push for more funding, but also better policies, especially when it comes to young offenders who've reached the point of no return.

"We have a juvenile with an extensive record who suddenly at 16 they're thought of being first offenders when in fact they have more severe problems and they're putting the public at greater risk," Durham Judge Marcia Morey.

All of the issues are expected to come up during the General Assembly's short session next month.