Local News

Durham homicides almost doubled in past year

Posted December 29, 2015

— Durham has seen its homicides almost double this year, from 22 in 2014 to 42.

Marcia Owen, director of the Religious Coalition for Nonviolent Durham, has watched in dismay as the city's homicide statistics piled up this year.

"It's more than a heart can hold," Owen said Tuesday. "It looks like, so often, it's common conflict and the presence of a gun."

Many of Durham's homicides are clustered in the eastern part of the city, away from the thriving downtown area.

"The two Durhams. The tale of two cities, essentially," Owen said.

Four of the city's 2015 homicides were ruled self-defense, and one was an officer-involved-shooting.

Mayor Bill Bell called the spike in homicides the exception rather than the rule and pointed out that other large cities are seeing the same trend.

Charlotte has had 61 homicides in 2015, compared with 42 in 2014, but Raleigh has had 17 homicides – about the same as last year.

Durham has begun a national search for a new police chief, and Bell said city officials want someone with a track record of reducing crime in a similar-sized city.

"It's important to understand we're not going to put all this on the police chief, not going to put this on law enforcement," he said. "It's got to be a community effort."

The city created task forces last year to focus on health, education, housing, jobs, public safety and finance, and Bell said that, after almost two years of research, outreach and planning, they are ready to start putting their ideas in effect in 2016 to help improve the poorest areas of Durham, which should reduce crime.


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  • Steve Willyg Dec 30, 2015
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  • BigWillie Johnson Dec 30, 2015
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    We have been arguing black on black crime for decades, after spending 22 trillion on Great Society programs. Yeah vote for Hillary and spend even more money trying to find a political solution to a cultural problem. This is a chronic virus that cannot be cured, just be sure your love ones are never infected. They are at most risk when attending a public school. Think about it:)

  • Roger Chance Dec 30, 2015
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    The demographics and the cluster of homicides in the eastern side of the city tell you all that you need to know. Mr. Boswell is spot on. It was disturbing that a recent respondent stated, "at least we're killing our own". How gratifying.

  • Ryan Kurtz Dec 30, 2015
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    But don't worry, Durham residents, your city just sunk a ton of money in to body cams for police officers, I'm sure this will turn that city right around.

  • Tom Boswell Dec 30, 2015
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    In North Carolina, African-Americans commit 47.8 percent of the murders, although they are 21.8 percent of the population. This is better than nationally where blacks makeup 13% of the population yet commit 52% of the murders. These are FBI and US Census FACTS. Quite ironic that black lives matter when a handful of blacks are shot and killed while committing a crime and resisting arrest. It is perfectly acceptable in the black community however when 92% of blacks (FBI Stats) are killed by black males that make up 6.5% of the population. Not one politician will mention this nor one black leader.

  • cdurham Dec 29, 2015

    We should have kept Chief Lopez for two more years. Let's hope this year really is an anomaly, but I suspect we are seeing the results of too many years of kids being raised without fathers. Now they are young adults.

  • Steve Clark Dec 29, 2015
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    I'm not saying you're wrong Justin, but I think it would be helpful for you to site your source when you post something like that.

    And Roy, yes Black lives do matter, but why is it that the BLM 'movement' is only concerned with the (comparatively) small number of black lives that are ended by whites, and not the HUGE number of lives that are ended by other blacks?

  • Roscoe P Coltrane Dec 29, 2015
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    You should have included whether or not the remaining 22, had misdemeanor run ins with the law or had felonies while still a minor.

  • Amy Clayton Dec 29, 2015
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    ....and that was probably in a time where people respected others more, respected the law, and didn't wear their pants below their behinds.

  • Roy Jones Dec 29, 2015
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    Image that they fired the police chief who was trying to clean up this city without the support of mayor bell why doesn't the people call for his ousting as well. BLACK LIVES MATTER