'What took them so long?' Advocate says attacks against Hispanics in Durham have long history

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Tuesday, July 18, 2023
Series of robberies target Hispanic victims in Durham: Police
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Durham police say they have responded to at least 12 armed robberies this month.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Durham Police Department is investigating a series of armed robberies targeting Hispanic victims.

Police said several Hispanic victims reported being followed home when leaving businesses on Guess Road near the area of Avondale Drive and Foushee Street. Once at home, police said victims reported being robbed of items such as cash, debit cards, and phones.

Police said they have responded to at least 12 different armed robberies between July 1 and July 11.

Police reports obtained by ABC11 show the victims are mostly males who range in age from young 20s to 75 years old.

Around $33,000 with of items were reported stolen, according to police reports. Most victims reported losing a phone and wallet but thieves also stole a few cars, jewelry and debit cards.

DPD is not sure whether it is one person carrying out these crimes or a group of people.

Unfortunately, this isn't the first time Latinos have been specifically targeted by criminals

"I'm not surprised, for me was like 'What took them so long for someone to mention what was going on with the Latinos in Durham?'" said Ivan Almonte, an immigrant and Durham community advocate.

Almonte has worked and advocated for Latinos in Durham for decades and has even been a victim of crime himself.

"So the community will reach out to me after they have been assaulted or had a gun pointed on them on their way home or when they arrive from home, from work," he said.

Almonte said he believes crimes against Hispanics are even higher than reported because many are fearful of calling the police.

"Our community, they're talking about we were not even safe at the home. So, safety is a big concern in our community, you know, and for our community, safety means something different than other communities," he said.

To curb the crime against Latinos, Almonte said he believes leaders, the community and police need to come together.

"We need to have real conversations about what's going on," he said. "Our team of elected officials can do a better job creating spaces where talking to community leaders or going to neighborhoods to see what is the real situation."

Durham Police Department is asking community members to be aware of their surroundings and to remember the following crime prevention tips:

  • Have your keys ready when approaching your home or vehicle.
  • Park in well-lit areas.
  • If someone is following you, do not drive directly to your neighborhood. Instead, drive to a well-lit area. If you can, drive to a police substation.
  • Do not walk alone in dark areas.
  • Refrain from carrying large amounts of cash with you.
  • If you are confronted, always cooperate with the robber. Your life is more important than items of material value.
  • Get as much information as you can about the suspect (s) and any vehicle involved, including the plate number if at all possible.
  • Call 911 as soon as possible after the robbery. Provide the dispatcher with as much information as possible.
  • Do not be concerned about your immigration status if you are a foreign national when reporting a crime. Please report all suspicious activity and crime by calling 911.

Anyone with information about these robberies is asked to call Investigator T. Blake at (919) 560-4440 ext. 29282 or Investigator S. Ellison at (919)560-4440 ext. 29550.

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