DURHAM -- A dramatic increase in the number of robberies and aggravated assaults/shootings in January has pushed Durham's violent crime rate up by 22 percent for the first quarter of this year compared to 2014.
Police Chief Jose Lopez Sr. released the statistic at a city council meeting Monday evening.
Property crime (burglary, larceny, vehicle theft) is up by 2 percent - primarily driven by an increase in reported larcenies.
Lopez said while the overall numbers are higher, crime numbers have actually dropped in some specific areas like reported rapes, vehicle thefts, and burglaries.
The Durham Police Department said January saw the highest number of aggravated assaults recorded in 13 years.
To try and deal with the problem, officers have been split into teams to focus on high-crime areas and encourage community cooperation.
During the 90-day initiative, officers arrested 25 people.
Also in Monday's report is a mention of police body cameras, which officers are currently field-testing for effectiveness. The department will hold six public forums this month regarding their potential use of body cameras.
Police said the goal is to gather feedback from citizens about the potential pros and cons of body cameras.
The public listening forums will take place at the following times and locations:
Monday, May 11- Durham Public Schools Staff Development Center, 2107 Hillandale Road
Tuesday, May 12- Antioch Baptist Church, 1415 Holloway Street
Thursday, May 14- City Committee Room (2nd Floor), 101 City Hall Plaza
Tuesday, May 19-Russell Memorial CME Church, 703 South Alston Avenue
Wednesday, May 20-Durham Housing Authority (Crime Task Force), 330 East Main Street
Thursday, May 28-Southwest Regional Library, 3605 Shannon Road
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