As the population in Durham continues to go up, officials say overall crime is down in the city.
Living in the Cornwallis neighborhood of Durham since 2011, Shay Garett says she has seen too much crime.
“It’s a lot that goes on in these types of areas,” she said.
For years, Cornwallis and McDougald Terrace communities in Durham have had high crime numbers.
City councilman Mark-Anthony Middleton says those numbers are changing.
“When Chief (Cerelyn) Davis delivered her last report on crime statistics we saw overall trending downward,” he said.
According to the Durham police department, homicides, rapes, and assaults dropped 41 percent between the first quarter of 2017 and 2018.
Police say there’s still work to do. That’s one reason the department started its Community Engagement Unit.
“We’re here to help clean up some of the crime and other stuff that’s going on in the community,” said Sgt. Daryl Macaluso with the Durham police department.
Macaluso says that means police are more visible in communities like Cornwallis and they’re getting to know the people who live there, which is making a difference.
“We have a lot of people saying, ‘Hey, you know what, my children can come out and play now. I’m glad you’re here’,” he said.
Conwallis resident Garett says she sees a difference. She has also built a relationship with officers and feels more comfortable in her neighborhood.
“If they don’t do anything else, the presence makes it very outstanding for the bad people that aren’t supposed to be here,” she said.
Police say the program also provides resources to help victims of crime and their relatives.
If you need assistance, call Durham’s non-emergency number at 919-560-4600.