Bell's crimefighting plan draws criticism

Durham Mayor Bill Bell

February 7, 2012 3:35:27 PM PST
During Monday's State of the City address, Durham Mayor Bill Bell spoke out about taking his fight against crime to state lawmakers. Now, his idea is already drawing criticism.

Bell called for anyone arrested for using a gun in a crime to pay a higher bond.

"Allow magistrates at first hearing to set the bail bond for such an action at a minimum of $300,000," urged Bell.

It's an idea he hopes will keep repeat offenders off the street. It's a plan he's vowed to take all the way to state lawmakers.

However, the mayor's tough talk on raising bond amounts is already drawing criticism in the Bull City. Meanwhile, Durham's police chief says the city's crime is in line with other communities its size.

"We're really not as bad as other cities are. We're doing fairly well," said Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez. "As fairly well as we're doing, we're looking to do so much better."

Forensic expert Peter Gagliardi, who is known for his expertise in solving gun crimes, was in Durham Tuesday meeting with multiple agencies to help them better solve cases.

"To the extent that these are repetitive crimes and we could remove a shooter from a community, It has a preventative effect," said Gagliardi. "That shooter won't be available to harm anymore people the next day."

Also in the works, tracking shooters moments after a weapon is fired.

"Shot spotter is a technology that identifies in a given location where gunshots have been fired," said Lopez. "That's one of many other tools we're looking at at this time."

Lopez said his department is also working closely with the ATF in an effort to track down illegal weapons before they end up in the wrong hands.

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