DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — With more than 90 percent of homicides in Durham unsolved so far this year, Durham Police Chief Patrice Andrews said a lack of cooperation from witnesses is hindering some of the investigations.

Andrews presented Durham Police Department’s quarterly crime report to Durham City Council on Thursday afternoon. The report included how violent crime — which includes homicides, rapes, and robberies — is up in Durham overall by 8 percent.

According to data from the report, homicides in the first quarter of 2022 are up by 57 percent with11 in the first quarter of this year compared to seven homicides in the first quarter of 2021.

The report said that only 9 percent of the homicides in the first quarter of 2022 have been solved, which is down from the 48 percent of homicides the department solved in the entire year of 2021.

Andrews told the council during the work session that in 70 percent of those cases, they have a suspect or person of interest.

“It’s not easy, the work that our homicide investigators are doing, it’s not easy,” Andrews said. “Two of those cases, we would be able to make an arrest if we had cooperation from witnesses.”

In the first quarter of the year, there were 180 shooting incidents, which is an 8 percent increase from the 167 shooting incidents that happened in the first quarter of 2021.

Andrews said in quite a few of the shooting incidents this year there has been more than one victim.

“Multiple victims shot, those are 32 percent of our aggravated assaults, we are seeing an increase in that category,” Andrews said.

So far this year, Durham police have solved 43 percent of aggravated assaults, which is an increase from the 38 percent of aggravated assault cases they solved in 2021.

Durham police announced in April they had created a second centralized unit focused on shootings and Andrews said they have been able to clear cases through analyzing shell casings.

“In some of the significant incidents of violent crime, we have been able to connect the same guns being used in different incidents,” Andrews said.

Andrews said nearly 20 percent of the officer positions in the Durham Police Department are currently vacant, but since Durham City Council raised officer pay in January, they had at least two officers who had left Durham come back.

She said they have also seen an increase in candidates coming for physical and written tests at the department.

“We have seen more candidates coming in than we have ever seen,” Andrews said. “We are testing anywhere from 17 to 20 candidates at any one given period of time, which is an increase from testing four or six before Christmas.”

Andrews said the shortage of officers has increased the workload for investigators, but she said the big problem that’s hindered some of the cases is the need for more information from the community.

“I want the community to know that we are working tirelessly to bring these cases, not two more, not four more, not eleven, but each one of these cases to a resolution,” Andrews said.

Tyeshia Walters’ grandmother Delores Burwell was struck by what Durham police said was celebratory gunfire on New Year’s on Robinhood Road in Durham.

“She was very loved, especially by me, I’m her oldest grandchild,” Walters said.

So far Burwell’s murder case is still unsolved and Walters is asking if anyone in the community knows anything, to come forward.

“It hurts me that I can’t hear her voice, and I can’t see her, it hurts me,” Walters said. “But someone knows something, and they need to speak up. They really do.”

If you have any information about any of the recent homicide or shooting incidents, call CrimeStoppers at 919-683-1200. CrimeStoppers pays cash rewards for information leading to arrests in felony cases and callers never have to identify themselves.