'Troubling trend': Durham Police Chief weighs in on young people and crime

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Friday, February 24, 2023
Durham police chief weighs in on young people and crime
Durham police chief Patrice Andrews presented 2022 Annual Crime Report to City Council Thursday.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Gathering her notes, Durham Police Chief Patrice Andrews prepared to present the department's 2022 Annual Crime Report to the City Council on Thursday.

"Obviously you all know that I find it very hard to celebrate or even kind of be happy about reductions when we still have so much violence in our community," Andrews said.

The report comes on the heels of a double shooting on Feb. 8 that took the life of one Hillside High School student.

"I am concerned about the gun violence, and the fact that these kids are getting younger and younger," Andrews said. "Fourteen years old, that's young. That's way too young. Those are adult issues, adult things that they are either victimized for or they are committing."

Durham sees 10 percent decline in violent crime in 2022, report finds

The City of Durham's violent crime rate fell 10% in 2022, namely in homicide and aggravated assault. The number of rape and robberies have gone up, with 60% of firearms used in reported robberies.

Although there's a significant reduction in property crime with the exception to motor vehicle theft, Andrews said they continue to see vehicles where firearms are stolen.

"Of the 2,960 larcenies, even though that's down, 52% of all guns stolen came from this category," Andrews said. "In 59% of those cases, the vehicle was unlocked."

Andrews called for responsible gun ownership as gun violence advocate Kaaren Haldeman said a lot of guns end up in the wrong hands, especially young people.

"We know that a lot of the guns that wind up in hands of minors come from the home, and largely the guns that are used are brought to school or brought from the home," Haldeman said.

Both Haldeman and Andrews attended Hillside High School's play "A State of Urgency," that address gun violence.

"Hearing high school students, the level of anguish that our young people are experiencing, that alone should be enough for you," Haldeman said.

The 2022 crime report also included updates on ShotSpotter, which launched in Dec. 2022.

While Andrews acknowledged Durham Police's response time could be better, she said ShotSpotter is a tool that she remains neutral on until the pilot program wraps up. ShotSpotter uses acoustic sensors to detect gunfire in East and Southeast Durham and alert police officers in real-time.

ShotSpotter failed to alert two of the latest homicides, according to Andrews.

"Durham Police has to ask the tough questions," Andrews said. "What happened, how often it has happened before, and then we request it to ShotSpotter who does their own research to provide an answer."

Andrews said Durham Police is working on their own report with their own data.

"Durham Police's data is forthcoming and will be more robust than what ShotSpotter provided," Andrews said.

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