Durham community says problem with gunfire is out of control

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Neighbors concerned about gunfire near their homes took their concerns to the Durham City Council Thursday, urging city and county leaders to work with one another and the community to get the situation under control. 

Casim Noble, who lives in the Swann’s Mill community in northeast Durham, said he’s dealt with the problem since moving there more than two years ago. 

“So, we ask for a joint task force. We expect that to come with a mandate. We expect it to come with strategic long-term planning,” he said. Neighbors recently circulated a petition, gathering dozens of signatures calling for that. 

Noble shared with city council members some pictures where bullets had entered homes. Data from the Durham Police Department shows so far this year people in the neighborhood have called about shots being fired on 17 different occasions. 

“First of all, we need to open up a dialogue. We need to have better communication,” said Noble. 

On the other side of the tree line behind the homes in the neighborhood, you enter Durham County, which is where the gunfire appears to originate. 

Councilmember Charlie Reece, who met with residents in the spring, said the sheriff’s office set up a roadblock near there to inform neighbors about the danger of firing guns near Swann’s Mill local ordinances banning that near residential communities. The sheriff’s office has not responded to requests for comment from CBS17 on its strategy for dealing with the situation. 

“My hope is that it’s just people not knowing that this law exists,” said Reece. “Because it’s terrifying. I can’t imagine what it’s like to live in one of those houses along that tree line and to know that any time gunfire could come into my home. It’s terrifying.” 

Noble said since raising the concern, neighbors have begun to hear gunfire less frequently. But, he said, it’s unclear if it’s a temporary reprieve or a sign of meaningful change. 

“Our concern there is that it becomes permanent,” said Noble. “Reaction is not an initiative. We want to make sure that there’s permanent policies put in place that will ensure that this does not start up again.” 

Reece said he planned to return to the community in the coming weeks to see if progress has been made.  

“It’s really a public health risk and a danger to the people that are in the city neighborhood,” he said. 

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