Durham police expands gang unit, creates task force to combat gun violence

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – The Durham Police Department has expanded its gang unit to create a 13-member task force geared toward better fighting crime.

Durham Police Chief C.J. Davis announced she would expand the department’s gang unit after there were multiple shootings in the city over the course of a 36-hour-period back in October 2019.

In January, police said that six officers were added to their existing gang unit.

Lt. Genevous Minor helps lead the expanded gang unit and he said the officers focus on areas where gang activity is strongest in Durham.

“They are out in the community conducting high visibility,” Minor said.

Minor said that the added officers allow the department to have a hybrid unit where some officers gather information on the scene and the others go where they believe the suspects are headed.

“Our investigators get the real-time information and pass it on to the officers with our hopes that the individuals will be taken into custody before they reach their destination,” Minor said.

Minor said in the last month since the task force has been created, it has allowed them to catch suspects much quicker than they could before.

However, he said the biggest challenge is getting the community to do its part.

“We have community members out there that if they witness it, they don’t want to get involved per se. They don’t want to snitch,” Minor said. “We do need the community’s input to help combat these concerns.”

Minor said the additional positions were shifted from other patrols within the department.

Davis recently told city leaders that she sill needs funding from the city to hire more officers.

Families in Durham told CBS 17 they are hoping that the city’s expanded gang task force will help curb gun violence in the city.

Michelle Hall’s son, Tavares Hall, was shot and killed while walking home near West Club and Buchanan boulevards in October 2018.

“All I know is he was coming through to see everybody and a few minutes later some shots rang out from down the street,” Hall said. “He got hit by one of the stray bullets.”

Hall said something needs to be done to prevent tragedies like the one that happened to her family.

“It was like I lost a part of me at that moment,” Hall said. “Hopefully, one day, this will make an impact because we are all tired of losing our loved ones.”

According to Durham police statistics, at least 12 percent of the 190 shootings that happened in 2019 were gang-related.

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