Police: Murder not a random act

DURHAM But, the death of 41-year-old Trevor Spain has left nearby residents nervous about their own safety because of recent break-ins and criminal activity in the area.

"Murder is not acceptable," offered resident Jeff Ensminger.

But that's exactly what happened just a few blocks away from Ensminger's home. Spain was found dead in the basement of his house on Shepherd Street. Several items were missing from the home, but there were no signs of forced entry.

"That was a robbery. I don't believe it was someone that gentleman knew. I believe it was someone coming up to the doors like we've all had recently," said Ensminger.

Residents say their quiet neighborhood has become a haven for strangers who knock on doors begging for money or to use the phone. Some are brazen.

"We've had people that have just walked into houses and come into houses at night when people are there," Ensminger explained.

The neighborhood's fears are only made worse by Spain's murder, but police aren't convinced his death is the work of thieves.

"It doesn't appear to be a random act," offered Lt. M.T. Sykes with Durham Police Department.

Investigators won't say whether Spain knew his attacker, but they admit they've seen a slight increase in calls in the surrounding neighborhoods commonly known as District Three. In the past month, more than 145 incidents were reported - forcing officers to step up patrols.

"They certainly realize that the break-ins are going on over there and they're following up and taking in every lead they can," said Sykes.

Tuesday, police will canvass the neighborhood searching for potential eyewitnesses. It's all in an effort to ease concerns in a community already on edge.

"The unfortunate circumstances that happened down the street will happen again to someone else in another neighborhood," said Ensminger.

The leaders of several neighborhood boards plan to meet to discuss the murder case and recent break-ins. City leaders plan to be the to listen to concerns.

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