‘We haven’t been stagnant:’ Durham councilors deal with red tape when finding solutions to violent crime

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — As shooting incidents in Durham soar, city councilors say they are met with red tape when it comes to finding solutions to curb the violence.

So far this year there have been 804 shooting incidents and 267 people have been shot in the Bull City.

Six individuals between the ages of 15 -19 have been shot and killed in Durham this year.

This includes 15-year-old Anthony Adams who was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting on Sunday morning at an apartment complex near the intersection of East Main and S. Elm Street in Durham.

People who live in the community question why Durham City Council is not taking quicker action to address the issue with gun violence.

“A young man that I know that I’ve talked to several times is gone,” said Ernest Lee, a neighbor who lives near where the shooting happened. “What must we do? We have to find something to do.”

Durham City Council member DeDreana Freeman said the council has not voted on any initiatives that would address the recent problem with gun violence in recent months.

“I can’t think of a time where we actually voted on an item that would move us forward in that way,” Freeman said.

Durham City Council voted down ShotSpotter in June of last year.

Freeman said right now all of the city councilors seem to agree on hiring more violence interrupters or mediators who prevent future shootings. However, it’s been weeks since the council discussed this item and no action has been taken.

“I mean like many bureaucratic organizations, it’s very slow and it doesn’t respond as fast as we would like,” Freeman said.

Once the city council discusses something, staff must figure out how the city can logistically implement the program.

“We haven’t been stagnant, but there is more action that we could and should be taking,” said Pierce Freelon, Durham city councilor in Ward 3. “There’s this red tape and we’ve got to find a way to get faster solutions to people who have immediate problems.”

But as the city must cut through red tape, yellow crime scene tape continues to go up at an alarming rate.

“The needs are so deep and are so great and our city is not responding fast enough,” Freelon said.

Both Freelon and Freeman said there are organizations in Durham that are seeking to provide activities to steer young people in the right direction, but they need funding from the city to do it.

Freelon said he is working with organizations on a proposal called “We Are the Ones” that will create a fund for groups in the community who provide young people with activities and who are working to stop violence.

He said he will be proposing this to the council at a work session next week.

On Thursday, Durham Mayor Steve Schewel and Police Chief C.J. Davis will be holding a press conference to discuss the recent gun violence and how the city plans to address the problem.

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