DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — While Durham continues to look for solutions in fighting the problem with gun violence, the Durham County District Attorney’s Office says a majority of the closed murder cases since 2019 have led to convictions. 

So far this year, 22 people have been shot and killed in Durham– which is on pace with last year– which was a record-breaking year for the city. 131 people have been shot this year and police have responded to 420 shooting calls in Durham. 

In emails that CBS 17 obtained through an open records request, people are asking Durham City Council for protection. Some had questions about homicide conviction rates and if the shooters are being held accountable.  

CBS 17 went to Durham County District Attorney Satana Deberry on Friday to get answers on what the homicide conviction rate is in Durham.

Deberry said that the state does not track conviction rates.

“Modern prosecutors don’t track convictions, that doesn’t give you a full idea of what is happening in the court system,” Deberry said.

But Deberry said out of the 88 homicide defendants whose cases were closed from 2019 to 2021, two-thirds were convicted of charges involving murder and manslaughter.  

The DA said another 10 percent were turned over for federal prosecution with the assistance of their office. 

“We think we’re doing exactly what we’re supposed to do around serious and violent crime,” Deberry said.

CBS 17 asked why certain closed homicide cases during that time did not lead to convictions.  

“Most of those people pled to non-homicide related offenses, some of those people were innocent,” Deberry said. 

The DA’s office said 19 homicide defendants were convicted in 2021, which is up from the nine who were convicted in Durham County in 2020. Also, the DA said 25 were convicted in 2019 and 18 were convicted in 2018. 

CBS 17 asked Deberry if she is satisfied with how many murder convictions there have been in Durham County in recent years. 

“I think we’ve done a great job in doing convictions, I think we have a high conviction rate over these last three-and-a-half years,” Deberry said. “I think this is a good time to remind people what the district attorney’s office does. We work to take charges from law enforcement and then convict people who are guilty. We are always looking for truth and justice, and we are trying to being honest in that way.” 

Deberry said the biggest challenge in convicting defendants is that they need people in the community to come forward. 

“People are legitimately afraid of the violence in their community, and they are legitimately afraid when they see something,” Deberry said. 

Deberry also said that gun violence is not something law enforcement and the DA’s office can tackle alone. 

“We as a community need to be looking at the root causes of violence, why that violence happens in certain communities, and what are the issues around poverty and mental health that need to be addressed?” Deberry said. 

Deberry said that she is continuing to work with local law enforcement and federal partners to get those behind the gun violence in the community off the street.