Increased Durham crime rates reflect city's bloody 90 days

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- After Durham Police Chief C.J. Davis presented the city's newest crime report to city council, she spoke to ABC11 and laid out what DPD thinks is behind the new uptick in gun violence: More illegal guns on the street and an unrelenting gang problem.

The chief also made clear that the department needs help - not just from City Hall but also from grassroots community organizations that are fed up with the violence.

DPD releases these crime statistics every 90 days. But this snapshot of January through September 2019 was an especially bloody one.

There were 32 homicides through September, a 33 percent increase compared to the same time last year.

Aggravated assaults, like shootings where the victim survives, are up 19 percent; 930 cases compared to 784 this time in 2018.

RELATED: 5 shot, 1 killed in Durham after drive-by shootings minutes apart

Violent crime in Durham is up 6 percent: 1,471 cases compared to 1,393 a year ago.

Chief Davis delivering the sobering numbers Monday night, almost five months after her request for 18 additional police officers was denied by this city council.

Some in the majority of were concerned with the image of over-policing in the city's neighborhoods of color. Council member Mark-Anthony Middleton, who voted for the increase in officers, used his question time with the chief Monday to call for more action from city hall.

"I think what needs to be displayed and said is that we have the moral credibility to look our folk in the eye and say we have done everything we can do at least to create an atmosphere where things like this are less likely," Middleton said.

Davis told ABC11 that her department is committed to using a variety of different tactics to get a handle on the city gun violence. But, she also stood firm that DPD needs more officers to combat the issue of illegal guns and gangs.

"We absolutely do (need more officers)," Davis said. "This is a growing city and I'll leave it at that. This is a growing city and we have to make sure that our service delivery is comparable to the city we serve."

The new crime numbers do not include the rash of violence at the end of October; a bloody 36 hours where two people were shot and killed, 8 others were shot and wounded.

But the numbers do include the August drive-by murder of 9-year-old Z'Yon Person.

Chief Davis alerted the council tonight that not only does DPD have a primary suspect in custody for the boy's murder, the suspect will likely face federal prosecution.
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