DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Since the beginning of 2022, Durham has averaged 15 shootings per week, with a total of 374 shooting incidents so far this year, according to data from police.
In the city’s latest shooting, a man and a woman were shot at the Waffle House on Hillsborough Road around 2 a.m. on Wednesday.
Police said the two victims were shot inside the restaurant, and their injuries are non-life-threatening.
Authorities are still searching for the suspect and the incident remains under investigation.
When looking at the city’s crime data provided by Durham police, it showed a slight uptick in shooting incidents from May to June 2022.
This has some people in Durham concerned.
“The shootings are terrible,” Robin Frazier said, who has lived in Durham all her life. “I’m scared for my grandkids, you can’t go anywhere. These young kids with their guns, they’re just throwing their lives away.”
CBS 17 reached out to Durham police to find out more about what’s being done to address the problem of gun violence.
We’re still waiting to hear back, but Durham Police Chief Patrice Andrews said in April the department would be creating a second central unit focused on addressing the shootings.
Another group that is working to combat the problem are “the reformers,” a group that is made up of former offenders who are familiar with a lot of these troubled communities where the shootings are happening.
“We are part of the solution, no longer are we part of the problem,” Dennis Garrett said, the team leader for the reformers.
The group formed in September 2021 and Mayor Elaine O’Neal has closely worked with this group for months.
The 11-member team gets calls from people who live in these troubled communities when fights start to escalate.
“A lot of individuals don’t feel comfortable talking to the police, but we’re in the hood, so they talk to us,” Robert Johnson said, a member of the reformers. “We have a better relationship because we come from the same hoods.”
Johnson said they respond to these situations, and sometimes, they can prevent shootings and violence before they happen. He said not all the incidents they respond to are gang-related.
“What’s behind a lot of this fighting and shootings is a problem with mental health,” Johnson said. “Mental health is a serious issue that must be tackled.”
Since CBS 17 spoke with reformers in April, they said they are hearing about fewer incidents arising and are not having to respond to as many calls.
But as shootings continue to happen in the city, officers said they will continue to work to fight the problem.
“There was a shooting this morning, but we’ve definitely been trying to help the problem,” Thomas Caraway said, who is also a member of the reformers.
Caraway said that you won’t ever hear about the shootings they prevent, but they are doing what they can to create peace in the community.
“We’re definitely in the shadows in these communities, helping the communities out and giving back to (them),” Caraway said.
Garret said each week the reformers do not know how many times they are going to be called and they are also doing all this work out of their own pocket.
If you would like to help the reformers group, call the CBS 17 newsroom at 919-835-6399 and we will put you in contact with the group.