DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Two homicides on Saturday have Durham’s violent death count nearing 20 for 2019.
Police Chief C.J. Davis went before the Durham City Council on Monday evening to make a presentation on the city’s first-quarter crime numbers. Homicides for the year-to-date are up more than 50% when compared to 2018.
Durham police investigated 32 homicides last year. The city has already passed the half-way mark to matching that number, and the Durham County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a few other murders as well.
Through May 5, 2018, Durham police reported nine homicides. Through May 5, 2019, the department had 17.
City council member Mark-Anthony Middleton said Monday he has serious concerns that crime will continue to rise as the summer months arrive.
“It’s getting warmer. School is about to be out. We know, not just in Durham but in cities around America, that when school is out, the sun is up longer, the days are longer, that summer vacation mode kicks in, there tends to be an uptick in activity because folks have more time on their hands. They’re outside longer,” Middleton said.
“That’s not an excuse for what’s happening, but we know that if there’s a time of year for when this stuff happens, it’s this time of year. Because we know that, there are strategies that we need to be putting in place now.”
Three days later, a 10-month-old and her mother died in a shooting. Police said the suspect failed in a suicide attempt.
The first quarter of 2019 ended with a pair of shooting deaths near Chapel Hill Road.
Jenorye Zequan Britt died March 30 in a shooting at a Palmer Street apartment. Search warrants filed May 3 reveal detectives found the murder weapon in a box on a bedroom shelf, covered by a cloth, and one of six people at the home told police he put it there to prevent additional violence.
Police reports indicate two of the six people refused to talk to officers, while the other four had conflicting stories.
One day later and three blocks away, police found Emani Letreo Ricks shot to death in a parking lot in front of a Chines restaurant. No one has been charged in either the March 30 or March 31 shootings.
Durham Police statistics released April 27 include 14 homicides inside the city limits. The following week, John Kenneth Mason died in a deadly stabbing on April 29, and on May 4 David Kelly was stabbed to death while someone shot and killed Aljawon Sumpter in a separate incident.
The city typically posts new period-to-date crime statistics online every Saturday, but there was no such posting on May 4. The only other Saturday in 2019 without a crime report was March 23.
Crime is up across the board when compared to the first quarter of 2018, with the exception of burglaries, which are down 10%, and aggravated assaults, which are about even with 194 through March 2019 compared to 193 for January-March 2018.
Durham Police declined a CBS 17 request to discuss the crime statistics ahead of the chief’s presentation.