DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – More than 20 murders have happened so far in Durham in 2019.
On Thursday, Durham city and county officials announced that they are working together to fight an uptick in violent crime in different areas of the city.
The response comes days after 9-year-old Z’yon Person was shot and killed while riding in a car at the intersection of Duke and Leon Street in Durham.
“This is a tragedy beyond words but it is not a tragedy beyond action,” said Durham Mayor Steve Schewel.
Durham Police Chief C.J. Davis talked about how most of these crimes are committed by a small group and that police are working with county and federal agencies to track down these suspects.
“One of the most potent ways to curb gun violence is through collaboration with law enforcement, the district attorney’s office, and our federal partners,” Davis said.
Over the last two months, Durham police have been working with ATF by using a new system called National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN).
Matt Martin, U.S. Attorney for the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, said that NIBIN uses technology to track down suspects by taking images of shell casings from crime scenes.
“We compare those with other images in our computer database,” Martin said. “So, frequently, we are able to make matches of other guns to be able to link to certain guns to certain crime scenes.”
District Attorney Satana Deberry said her office has put resources toward creating another homicide unit.
“We’re working a backlog of nearly 100 homicide cases to bring some closure to those families who have been waiting years for prosecution,” Deberry said.
Police also said at the press conference that firearm thefts are a big problem in the city.
According to Davis, 207 firearms have been reported stolen since January and 30 of those have been seized.
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