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Durham mayor on gun violence: 'We won't tolerate it'

Posted January 7

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— As the first full week of 2016 came to a close Thursday, officials in Durham came together to reveal a new plan they say will help bring down the city's violent crime rate.

In 2014 Durham had 22 homicides. In 2015, the murder rate went up nearly 100 percent - with 42 homicides. And so far, in 2016, two people have been killed.

Three days into the new year, a man was found dead behind a home in the 2800 block of Ashe Street. Two days later, a woman was shot and killed standing near the intersection of East Main Street and Elm Street just after 1 p.m.

"I've been with the police department almost 28 years, and I have not seen the level of shootings that we have been having in the city," said Larry Smith, the interim police chief.

On Thursday, Mayor Bill Bell and Sheriff Mike Andrews joined Smith to talk about what is being done to stop gun violence.

"It is not going to be tolerated. We won't tolerate it," Bell said.

Smith said they have identified a group they believe is responsible for some of the crime.

"We have identified 19 individuals, either by past behavior or through intelligence. We know there is a high probability that they have been involved in some of the violence that has been going on in the city," Smith said. "We are going to do everything we can within legal means to deal with those individuals."

According to Smith, four specialized teams will be committed to the mission.

While he did not go into detail about exactly what is causing the uptick in violence, he steered away from questions regarding a gang war.

"There may be some of that on a small scale, but not on a large, gang-war type," Smith said.

Arnold Smith lost his son last year to gun violence and said he wants to see the police do more.

"We have a lot of gangs in Durham. It can get worse," he said.

Smith attended the meeting to demand results from city leaders.

"Even though I lost (my son), my pledge was to continue the fight," he said.

At the meeting Thursday, officials also emphasized the importance of community involvement in ending violent crime.

24 Comments

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  • cdurham Jan 8, 2016

    I find it interesting that they wait to make this announcement about the 19 people shortly after Chief Lopez's forced retirement. I sure hope they don't plant to take credit for it. You can believe that Lopez was addressing this. I'm still in disbelief that he was forced to go. It was a bad decision.

  • James Scandrick Jan 8, 2016
    user avatar

    Tom, because Black males are 80% more to be followed and tracked, while 80% of the crimes committed by Whites are not detected, patrolled, arrested or even questioned. Do you believe the guns on the streets are provided by 40% of Black Males? 90% of Meth labs and the children in them are operated by Whites. 80% of child sex crimes, pedophilia committed in Wake Co., Cary, Raleigh, are White Males. According to FBI, and common sense, more crimes go undetected and unreported in the white community than any other. To overlook crime of your own, doesn't mean it's not happening. It's a sickness when it's mass amounts of whites, but criminal activity when it's black. Check New Hampshire, Heroin problem. It's a political topic, when whites and really affluent whites commit crimes. It's mental illness, when racism is obvious, see SC church killings, Sandy Hook, Denver, Columbine, Chapel Hill. They can't even stop the drunk driving of white teens in Johnston Co., oh but Durham is 40% black male.

  • Fanny Chmelar Jan 8, 2016
    user avatar

    View quoted thread



    "We have identified 19 individuals, either by past behavior or through intelligence. We know there is a high probability that they have been involved in some of the violence that has been going on in the city," Smith said. "We are going to do everything we can within legal means to deal with those individuals."

  • Tom Boswell Jan 8, 2016
    user avatar

    As long as Durham remains at 40% black there is absolutely nothing they can do about the murders. Black males make up 6.5% of the US population yet commit 51% of the murders according to FBI stats.

  • Roger Chance Jan 8, 2016
    user avatar

    What's he going to say? How long has he been mayor? We all know he continues to get elected, not on his record, but because low info voters who look like him.

  • John Birch Jan 8, 2016
    user avatar

    Of course you'll tolerate it Bill Bell, you have no way of stopping it.What a joke of a mayor and a discrace.

  • John Jung Sr. Jan 8, 2016
    user avatar

    Hey i know!!! Lets throw more money at the problem!

  • Dan Wilder Jan 8, 2016
    user avatar

    He just thought it was a good opportunity to ride Obama coattails, typical politician...

  • Sue Roth Jan 8, 2016
    user avatar

    Hello Bill Bell??
    Hello???
    Did you just NOTICE a problem with gun violence in Durham? Haven't you been tolerating it for years?

  • Clarence Drumgoole Jan 8, 2016
    user avatar

    The problem with negativity is, just as many or more folk feel the same way about you. Therefore nothing positive gets accomplished. Galatians 5:15 It is possible, to destroy ourselves!

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