Durham community launches New Vision to address violent crime

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- There was a party with a purpose in Durham on Saturday.

Neighbors, politicians, law enforcement, even former gang members and those still connected came together with an important message.

"We can live in this neighborhood and be safe," said Dennis Garrett. "We've got the streets. We've got everybody here to say we tired. Give us a chance to let our children live."

Garrett is part of a group of neighbors called Durham New Vision -- a growing movement among various organizations, city and county leaders to address crime.

Durham's former Police Chief Steve Chalmers said Saturday's family-friendly event is an effort to connect with the community and listen.

"Our role today is to support them and hear from them, as to what we as the community can do, county government, city government and what type of resources and programs that they need," said Chalmers.

Their movement, launching Saturday, would also enhance existing prevention efforts in the city using former and current gang members as advocates.

"So if they are the idol for their community -- just being a positive idol is what we want them to do," said Seirra Sowell, the event organizer.

New Durham Vision comes at a time when the Bull City saw more deadly shootings this week.

On Sunday, 31-year-old Jamal Coltrane was found shot dead inside a car on Highway 55.

On Monday, 35-year-old Joshua Johnson was discovered shot to death in the trunk of a vehicle off Hope Valley Road.

On Friday night, police say they found three people shot on Drew Street. One was dead.

The shooters in all these crimes are still out there. Call Crimestoppers at 919-683-1200 if you know anything. There's a cash reward for any tips leading to an arrest.

Durham New Vision is working with law enforcement in hopes of taking back the streets.

Organizers said they believe that if their new movement can save at least one life -- it's worth it.
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