After weekend of shootings, Durham police to visit other crime fighting cities

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By the numbers, Durham is investigating 10 gun-related homicides so far this year.

Bullets don't have names. A recent rash of weekend shootings in Durham is a sobering reminder of the adage that gunfire can harm innocent bystanders.


Durham Police responded to two shooting incidents over the weekend. On Saturday, investigators found two people wounded inside a car at the intersection of Otis and Nelson Streets just a few blocks away from the NCCU campus. A backyard party was disrupted in 1600-block of Liberty Street at Briggs Avenue when gunfire erupted, wounding a man in the stomach.

The shootings follow another dangerous weekend where 11 people were injured, including several at a child's birthday party. As part of its strategic plan, Durham's police department tries to identify areas where gang retaliation might occur. Officers also participate in targeted patrols. For the past ten years, officers have worked with the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) task force. There are four Durham police officers assigned to the task force and three ATF agents assigned to work in Durham.

BY THE NUMBERS

Police say arguments that end in gunfire and illegal guns are to blame for the recent shootings. They're investigating 10 gun-related homicides this year, plus one case where a shooting victim in 2011 recently died.


At least 138 people were injured in gun related incidents that range from self-inflicted wounds to pellet gun injuries. Anonymous hotlines like CrimeStoppers and GunStoppers have helped police seize 20 illegal weapons this year. Officers confiscated a total of 16 last year.

FEDERAL CRIME CONSULTANTS

Crime prevention consultants hired by the U.S. Department of Justice visited the Bull City in May. They're working on a list of crime fighting recommendations to curb gun violence and improve community policing. They say other cities are also experiencing an uptick in gun violence for unknown reasons.

"We recommended that Durham really focus on youth violence," said Hildy Saizow, a senior specialist with the USDOJ's Office for Justice Programs.

Saizow says the community is a key component to crime fighting.

"Give attention to high poverty areas in Durham," Saizow explained. "It's a tale of two cities. Durham has both a high rate of poverty as well as a high proportion of families that earn well over $100,000 a year."

Saizow says this fall representatives with the Durham Police Department will visit Kansas City and Boston where law enforcement have implemented successful crime prevention programs.

Anyone with information on the latest shootings is encouraged to contact CrimeStoppers at (919) 683-1200. CrimeStoppers pays cash rewards for information leading to arrests in felony cases and callers never have to identify themselves.

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