Durham residents plead for action as shootings continue to plague the city

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Families in Durham are fed up as shootings continue to happen around the city.

There have been 897 shooting incidents with 294 people having been shot in the city, according to the most recent Durham police data. Of those, 29 people have died.

On Wednesday night, 42-year-old Cedric Bowens was shot and killed in the 3000 block of Fayetteville Street.

That same night, a woman was grazed in the leg by a bullet in the 3000 block of Dearborn Drive.

Geraldine Horry lives at Oxford Manor apartments, which is just down the street from where the woman was injured in the shooting on Wednesday night.

“We are not safe,” Horry said.

The 68-year-old grandmother said she hears gunfire almost every day in her neighborhood and it’s no longer safe for her grandchildren to play outside.

“We don’t know where the gunshots are coming from, so we get down inside the house when we hear them,” Horry said.

Several buildings at Oxford Manor have been struck with stray bullets.

Horry argued that city officials need to take more steps to fight crime.

“They need to get everything straightened up, get it straight, get it together,” Horry said.

CBS 17 took her concerns to Durham City Councilman Mark-Anthony Middleton. He said that so far this year, the city council has not voted on any proposed initiatives that are geared toward fighting violent crime.

However, in August, the council discussed the possibility of implementing a free, six-month trial of ShotSpotter technology. This technology detects gunfire and automatically dispatches police to the scene once gunfire is detected.

The council has not taken any action on ShotSpotter yet.

In October, the Durham City Council discussed a proposal that would expand Durham County’s violence interrupter program. Violence interrupters are familiar with gang activity in the area and work as mediators in hopes of preventing future conflicts or shootings.

Currently, staff is still reviewing this proposal.

Since CBS 17 last spoke with city leaders the week of Nov. 9 about concerns regarding the recent gun violence, 64 more shooting incidents have been reported, 20 more people have been shot, and five more have died.

CBS 17 asked Middleton what it’s going to take to expedite the process to get something done.

“I think we should be putting the city on footing that this is a de facto state of emergency,” Middleton said. “It requires a lot of us in leadership putting aside our differences and saying we have an imminent threat, and that we have a clear and present danger. We need to act as if it’s a clear and present danger.”

At Thursday’s Durham City Council work session, the council nominated individuals for the Community Safety and Wellness Task Force. The task force’s role will be to tackle the root causes of violent crime in the community.

The council will not take a formal vote on the selection of the task force members until the next city council meeting on Dec. 21.

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