DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – As violent crime continues to plague different counties in central North Carolina, the Durham County Sheriff’s Office is working with neighboring counties to address the problem through a STRIKE Team.  

On Wednesday morning, Sheriff Clarence Birkhead held a press conference with Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood, Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson and Guilford County Sheriff Danny Rogers. The four different agencies talked about their efforts to address violent crime through this joint initiative.  

“We think it’s time to let people know what we’re doing, because we continue to see the gun violence,” Sheriff Birkhead said. 

The STRIKE team, a specialized group to target crime, formed in 2020, and all four counties have worked together to catch criminals who are going from county to county and committing violent crimes. 

The different crimes the agencies are focused on addressing include the proliferation of firearms, illegal drugs, human trafficking and organized crime. 

“In Alamance County, we’ve had homicides of people coming out of Durham,” Sheriff Johnson said. ”The violent criminals know they can jump from one county to another, and they think it’s hard to get identified. I’ve got news for them, what you see here this morning, we’re coming after you.” 

Sheriff Birkhead said they know who the violent offenders are who are committing these crimes. 

“We all have lists, and our STRIKE team members have lists,” Sheriff Birkhead said. “We share that Intel and we’re targeting, trying to identify, locate and apprehend.” 

Since January 2021, Sheriff Birkhead said the STRIKE Team has made 84 arrests that have led to 278 charges in Durham County. Birkhead said they have assisted with 41 operations and seized 42 firearms. 

In Orange County, data from the Sheriff’s Office shows so far, its STRIKE Team have made 199 arrests in Orange County which have led to 859 charges. Orange County said its team has seized 81 firearms since September 2020. 

CBS 17 has requested data for arrests and gun seizures in Alamance and Guilford Counties as well, but we are still waiting to hear back.

However, even with these arrests and gun seizures, gun violence continues to be a problem in the area. 

Sheryl Smith is an anti-violence community activist in Durham. She said she is in support of any effort to get criminals off the streets. 

“I mean if they are going from county to county doing this, I’m all for it,” Smith said. “Whatever help our sheriffs and police can get, I welcome what it takes to stop some of this crime.” 

However, Smith does question how many of the 84 arrests in Durham County are linked specifically to the shootings that have been happening in the Durham area. 

“Are you arresting the ones who are out here killing people and shooting people?” Smith said. 

She also questions if there is more the judicial system can do to keep these offenders off the street.  

“Are they serious charges that are going to keep our community safe?” Smith said. 

CBS 17 asked the Durham County Sheriff’s Office for a breakdown of the 84 arrests and how many were linked specifically to shootings in the area. We are still waiting to hear back.