DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — From multiple shootings to an afternoon stabbing in a restaurant, it was a violent weekend in Durham.
One of those shootings took place early Sunday morning, a woman was struck with a bullet while lying in bed as several shots hit her home.
Antonio Jones, the chairman of the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People, is concerned.
“Crime in Durham has gotten to a place to where residents no longer feel safe doing something as basic as sleeping,” Jones said.
He said pairing people ages 18 to 44 with a job will go a long way in driving down crime.
“Idle time is what gets people in trouble, right, and particularly when we look at crimes concerning youth and certain age brackets that (have) idle time,” Jones said. “So, if we have different programs and services to occupy that space and time I think we can see a significant decrease in crime.”
He said the group is releasing a jobs plan in the next few weeks. Jones and community activist Sheryl Smith also point to a need for more recreational, economic, and educational opportunities.
“Why is it so easy for these children to get guns, and why do they need them,” Smith said. “If there were more programs we wouldn’t need more guns. If there were more activities, or jobs.”
Both said action needs to be taken now.
“We can’t afford to keep waiting because the longer they wait the more lives are being taken,” Smith said.
Smith said city officials need to work better with the Durham Police Department. As Durham searches for a new police chief, Jones said this can be a time for discussion.
“I think that is a time for some very critical discussions amongst the elected officials and the vision for Durham. I think what is happening is we don’t have a clear comprehensive approach to dealing with some of these issues,” Smith said.
Jones also points to the upcoming city elections as an opportunity for community members to engage incumbents and candidates.