Some Durham residents hope city leaders reject $1.7 million proposal for more officers

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Durham Police say part of the solution to reducing violent scenes is having more officers on the ground.

Police Chief CJ Davis is asking the city for $1.7 million next year to hire 25 additional officers, with the goal of having 72 more over the next three years.

"At no time in the history of this country has the institution of policing kept the black community safe," said Nia Wilson, a Durham activist and Executive Director of Spirit House, who's fighting against the police chief's proposal.

Wilson told city council leaders Monday night that money should support groups, like hers, working in neighborhoods to stop crime.

"What we don't have is the resource, so how about funding the community to do what it needs to do," said Wilson. "Why is it that we have to invest in 72 more people who are carrying guns and assuming that is what's going to make us safe. It hasn't happened yet."

The Durham Police Department said that the city is becoming safer. They said over a three-year period, violent crime, murders, rapes, assaults and robberies have gone down 13 percent.

  • 2016 - 2,257 crimes

  • 2017 - 2,264 crimes

  • 2018 - 1,961 crimes

Authorities said benefits of extra police will include decreased crime, more community engagement and less over time.

"Safety is more than the absence of crime," said Wilson. "Let's create something-some sort of commission around public safety that helps you understand where else the money should go."

The city council is in the discussion phase of next year's fiscal budget.

The city manager will present recommendations to the council in May.
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