DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – While shootings continue as a concern among people who live in Durham, police are making progress in addressing violent crime.
On Wednesday afternoon, Durham Police Chief Patrice Andrews presented Durham City Council members with the second quarter crime report that showed some improvement in areas of violent crime.
For instance, the report showed overall violent crime in the city is down by 6 percent. So far this year there have been 579 aggravated assaults, which is a 19 percent drop from the 714 aggravated assaults last year. The report also showed that rapes are down by 9 percent.
However, Andrews said that in 35 percent of the aggravated assault cases, more than one person was shot or injured.
“That’s a significant number, as we look at how serious our shootings are becoming,” Andrews said.
The report also showed robberies are up as there have been 308 robberies so far this year, which is a 32 percent jump from the 234 robberies that occurred this time last year. The homicide rate stayed the same as last year, as 23 people had been murdered in the city as of the end of June.
As far as clearance rates, the report showed that Durham police solved 37.1 percent of aggravated assaults so far this year.
The city’s homicide clearance rates improved quite a bit, as Durham police went from solving 9 percent of murder cases as of March 31, to 58 percent as of August 2022.
“My team will continue to work cases, they will continue to bring folks to justice because that’s just what they do,” Andrews said.
Andrews also talked to council members about the Crime Area Target Team (CATT) the department formed in April at the height of much of violent crime.
Andrews said it’s an eight-member team focused on addressing violent crime through proactive tactics such as traffic stops and patrols in target areas.
From April 2022 through June 2022, the report showed there were 461 traffic stops conducted, 75 gun-related charges filed, and 64 firearms seized.
“We have seen a lot of high-powered rifles, mostly high-powered rifles being seized that were being carried in cars,” Andrews said. “It shows they are committed to the effort, but it also shows we have a lot of work to do in this community.”
Andrews also talked about how 54 percent of all stolen guns were taken from cars, and in 65 percent of those cases, the vehicles were left unlocked.
Andrews said those crimes were preventable.
“What is the community not hearing, what is it going to take?” Andrews said. “Are you comfortable if your car gets broken into and your gun gets stolen out of it and it’s unsecured, and that person takes it and goes and kills a member of the community, or goes and kills a child? Are you going to be able to sleep at night? I’m outraged by that.”
Durham City Council member Javiera Caballero voiced her concerns after hearing the chief provide the data on gun thefts.
“The impact of what those guns are doing is terrifying. We need gun reform,” Caballero said. “I call on our General Assembly members and our delegation to keep fighting for gun reform in the state of North Carolina.”