Durham families fed up as city council hasn’t taken action to fight crime in months

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — The number of shootings in Durham has been on the rise this year and City Council has not voted on any new initiatives to fight violent crime in months.

So far this year there have been 804 shooting incidents and 267 people have been shot.

Twenty-five people have died so far from gunshot wounds this year. In some incidents, stray bullets have struck homes, cars, and even people.

On Monday afternoon at 4 p.m., a woman was pulling out of an apartment complex near Broad St. and Leon St. when she said at least four bullets flew through the windshield of her car.

The woman didn’t want to show her face on camera, but she explained to us what happened.

“I was coming out of the parking lot and they blocked us in and started shooting,” she said. “I had my three-year-old with me, I had to pull him down and cover him.”

She was able to shield her child from getting hit, but she said that she and her brother, who was in the passenger seat, were both grazed by bullets.

She said something needs to be done because too many shootings are happening.

“I think they need to stop shooting, because bullets don’t have names,” she said.

So what has Durham’s City Council done recently to address the problem with gun violence?

Back in May of this year, CBS 17 spoke with Durham City Councilman Mark-Anthony Middleton to find out what the city planned to do to address the problem.

“I’m going to continue to try and focus the attention of the council and the city on dealing with this issue of gunfire,” Middleton said on May 26. “Not just in terms of hiring law enforcement personnel, but the underlying root causes that are long-term and our economic prosperity plans we’re dealing with.”

Since then, hundreds of shootings have occurred and 15 people have died from gunshot wounds.

On Tuesday, CBS 17 went back to Councilman Middleton and asked what actions Durham City Council has taken since May to address the problem with gun violence.

“You watch the meetings as much as I do,” Middleton said. “We have not voted on ShotSpotter, we had turned down ShotSpotter, and we have not yet expanded violence interrupters. I think what the city is seeing is a group of leaders who are wrestling with the way to get things done.”

Middleton said even though City Council hasn’t voted on any new initiatives in the last six months, it is not accurate to say that nothing is being done to fight violent crime.

For instance, he said Durham police officers have increased visibility, they have a Violent Crime Task Force focused on recent shootings, and officers are working closely with the gang unit in an effort to solve the cases.

Middleton also said the county does have violence interrupters out every day working as mediators in an effort to prevent future shootings.

However, he said he is frustrated as well that more isn’t being done.

“I just don’t think we’re doing enough,” Middleton said. “I happen to disagree that there’s not more that we can do to address this problem.”

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