Number of stolen guns in Durham on the rise as shootings become more frequent

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – The number of stolen firearms is up this year in Durham as the number of shootings in the city continues to rise, as well.

According to Durham police, 255 firearms have been stolen in the city so far in 2020. That’s an increase from the 231 firearms stolen from January 2019 to August 2019 and the 229 firearms stolen from January 2018 to August 2018.

Police said many of the firearms that have been stolen have been taken from homes and from unlocked vehicles. This increase in stolen firearms comes as 189 people have been shot so far in the Bull City. According to police data, 26 of those individuals are teenagers or children.

Durham police would not talk on camera on Thursday, but said in an email that their investigations have shown that stolen firearms are frequently used in shootings.

“Presumably, a lot of the shots that folks in your neighborhood hear and folks in the city hear, could very well be coming from guns that are stolen,” said Mark-Anthony Middleton, City Councilman for Ward 2.

Middleton said the first step to keeping guns out of the wrong hands is for gun owners to keep their guns locked up. Middleton is also a supporter of implementing gunshot detection technology such as ShotSpotter that would help police respond to scenes quicker.

During Thursday’s Durham City Council work session, city councilors discussed the possibility of approving a free six month trial of ShotSpotter technology. But, several city councilors voiced concerns about the technology. They said they had fears it would increase policing in the city.

However, Chief C.J. Davis said the technology could allow police to be more proactive.

“It could serve as a deterrent to those who want to fire weapons, because they know there will be a rapid response,” Davis said.

If the city moves forward with ShotSpotter, after the six-month tree trial it would cost the city up to $200,000 per year.

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