Police have solved more than 80% of homicides in Durham this year, but shootings continue to surge

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – So far this year, the number of deadly shootings in Durham has doubled compared to last year.

The latest data from Durham police show 14 people were shot and killed from Jan. 1 through May 1, compared to seven individuals who were shot and killed this time last year.

But Durham police have solved more homicides so far this year compared to last year. Durham Police Chief C.J. Davis gave her final quarterly crime report on Thursday afternoon during a city council work session.

The latest numbers she presented showed 85.7 percent of the seven homicides that occurred from Jan. 1 to March 31 this year have been solved. That’s more than Durham’s clearance rate for 2020 where 32.43 percent of homicides have been solved. The FBI’s average for cities the size of Durham had a clearance rate of 51.5 percent in 2019.

Davis said that there was a trend this year where those involved in the homicides knew each other.

“Anytime you have a trend where individuals are acquainted with each other or related to each other, sometimes it’s not as difficult to solve a homicide,” Davis said during the work session.

Davis also showed where Durham police have solved more aggravated assaults this year compared to last year with just shy of 40 percent of aggravated assaults solved. That’s more than the 23.9 percent of aggravated assaults the department solved in 2020 and almost as many as the FBI’s 2019 average clearance rate of 41 percent.

But the number of shootings in Durham continues to rise as there have been 238 shooting incidents in the last four months, according to data from police. That’s the equivalent of about two shooting incidents per day.

So far this year, 78 people have been shot and 14 of those individuals have died.

The most recent data from Durham police showed that 85 percent of the shooting incidents so far this year have not been solved. Many have been drive-by shootings where stray bullets have flown into homes.

At least three people have been hit by stray bullets that flew into their home. Two of those individuals are children.

Victoria Felton lives at Lakemoor Apartments in south Durham where a shootout occurred last week and three people were shot. One of those individuals was a woman inside her apartment who was an innocent bystander.

“It’s like we’re not even safe inside. What are we supposed to do?” Felton said.

Felton said it’s common to hear gunfire nearby.

“It echoes at night, but you can hear pop, pop, pop,” Felton said.

Even as police may be solving more homicides this year, Felton said families in Durham don’t feel safe.

“The city has to do what they have to, whether it’s better incentives, better pay, we need more police,” Felton said. “There’s too many innocent people that’s getting hurt for no reason.”

To see the Durham Police Department’s 1st Quarter Report, click on this link.

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