Violent crime declines across Durham except in these hotspots

Samantha Kummerer Image
BySamantha Kummerer WTVD logo
Thursday, April 27, 2023
Violent crime declines across Durham except in these hotspots
The latest Durham Police Department crime data shows a 9% decrease in violent crime in 2023, but that trend isn't the case in every part of the city.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- The latest Durham Police Department crime data shows a 9% decrease in violent crime in 2023, but that trend isn't the case in every part of the city.

In northern Durham, violent crimes are spiking by 32%. It is only there and in central Durham where violent crime is going in the wrong direction.

While for the past few years, an average of seven homicides have been reported in northern Durham, District 2, this year already six have been reported -- a 200% increase from this time last year.

From a double homicide at a middle school to a shootout at a Subway, just over a third of the city's 16 homicides this year have occurred in this district. This is the most of any district.

The homicide rate for the last 12 months in the district is still below the eastern area of Durham, according to the ABC11 Neighborhood Safety Tracker.

Beyond murders, aggravated assaults and rapes are nearly double what they were at this point in the district last year.

Durham's District 2 doesn't fall in Bull City United's jurisdiction, the new community-based gun violence intervention program. ShotSpotter is also not utilized in the area, but the area does have a Partners Against Crime (PAC) group.

Zion Tankard is one of the leaders of the PAC in District 2. She's lived in the area for seven years and says the increase in development has led to changes.

"I definitely think that the growth has contributed to some of the crime because I think that people are looking for ways that they can survive and sometimes they take from others," she said.

The group regularly brings the community and law enforcement together to discuss issues and solutions.

"I do think that it's bringing people together. When you know better, you do better," she said. "You have to know what's happening in order to engage how you can be safe and how you can keep your neighbor safe, and your children safe."

Tankard said the current local crime data doesn't concern her yet, but she wants to be a part of any degree of change.

"I think the city and the county are doing a lot. What I would love to see is more participation from our neighbors," Tankard said.

SEE ALSO | 'One shooting is too much': Durham minister shares perspective on gun violence

Shootings and criminal homicides in Durham have both increased in the first three months of 2023 compared to the same time period last year.

Lifetime Durham resident and former State House of Representatives Democratic leader Larry Hall is working with a group to decrease gun violence in Durham.

"These crime statistics are portable. These acts of violence are portable, and they will seek out people and places where they can be successful. So it's up to us to interdict them, not just report and investigate after the fact," he said.

He and others are working to bring awareness to the organizations that already have resources to target systematic issues behind crime.

"The crime itself may move, but those indicators of crime are consistent. That lack of housing, the poverty issue, the lack of opportunity, that lack of employment, that lack sometimes of transportation to get to employment, those things remain consistent indicators," Hall said.

He said many of the organizations and resources that exist are underutilized and participation and funding need to increase.

SEE ALSO | Durham sees 10% decrease in violent crime in 2022, report finds

Durham Police Chief Patrice Andrews is set to address City Council with the department's 2022 annual crime report Thursday.

"We have the infrastructure as I see it. To do it, we may need to fund it better. We may need to get more commitment from leadership in those organizations," Hall said.

Beyond District 2, violent crime is also higher by 72% in District 5 compared to this time last year.

Hall also said even if crime is not rising in one area, that doesn't mean residents shouldn't be concerned.

"If you're in District 3, you're doing something; something is happening that's helping to facilitate that environment and whatever you're doing, you can't stop," he said.

He also urged communities to share solutions.

"We all benefit when we all benefit," Hall said. "It's always about that collaborative we talked about; that collective consciousness of our community."