Local News

Durham resident: People 'shouldn't be afraid' to visit after recent protests

Posted August 17

— Every county in the Triangle saw an uptick in tourism dollars last year, but Durham outpaced them all with a 6.6 percent increase. Local leaders are now afraid recent protests could have a negative impact on that success.

The video of protesters taking down a Confederate statue thrust Durham into the international spotlight, causing some to increase their respect for the city and others to lose it.

“We’ve heard from several visitors. This is a highly-charged, emotional type of thing,” said Shelly Green, president and CEO of the Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Some folks have said they’re canceling their visit to Durham because they don’t like what happened and others are applauding the action, so it’s been a mixed bag.”

Green said the number of responses she’s received about the toppling of the Confederate statue Monday night is similar to the response her office received when House Bill 2 passed. She said many are wondering if it’s still safe to visit Durham.

“Durham is no more or less safe than it was five days ago and, for that matter, Charlottesville is no more or less safe than it was two weeks ago,” Green said.

Green said many tourists have said they’re concerned for their safety and fear that incidents similar to the weekend violence in Charlottesville, Va., will take place in Durham.

“I understand it might have seemed a little violent to some people, and I hope people don’t take that as a reason not to come here because they shouldn’t be afraid,” said resident Joshua Allen. “People are wonderful here and friendly, and we want to treat people equally, and that’s what the protest was about. I don’t think it was about scaring people.”

Those who love Durham hope the recent news attention doesn’t set the city back.

“There’s always some haters out there that will use this to say ‘See, I told you it’s a dangerous place.’ We don’t pay much attention to them. There are just as many or more saying the opposite of that,” Green said.

The Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau wasn’t the only agency getting calls about Monday’s incident. The county manager and sheriff’s office have also received an increase in phone calls, and in the county clerk’s office, they’ve created a map to show how many states they’ve received calls from.

16 Comments

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  • David Jaski Aug 18, 12:18 p.m.
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    Or focus on changes to bring in more tourists and more $. Highlight the good versus being overshadowed by the crime stats.

  • John Archer Aug 18, 11:46 a.m.
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    Well, I guess someone should really tell those 10 million tourists a year that they shouldn't be coming to Durham, nor should they be spending close to a billion dollars there a year.

  • Jeff Freuler Aug 18, 11:46 a.m.
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    When working in law enforcement and see the issues in Durham you can understand that the ones responsible for it can take it anywhere in the city they please and they do.

  • David Jaski Aug 18, 11:15 a.m.
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    https://www.neighborhoodscout.com/nc/durham/crimeDurham Crime Index = 6 (Safer than 6% of U.S. Cities)

    Compared to Raleigh (11), Cary (60) and Apex (54)

  • Robert Williams Aug 18, 11:15 a.m.
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    People are afraid to visit because of the absurdly high crime rate in that city. They should be more focused on making people feel safe instead of worrying about some stupid statues.

  • John Archer Aug 18, 10:36 a.m.
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    What aren't you getting about condemning an entire city as crime and gang ridden, when it is very clearly not? There are areas that have high rates of violent crime, but NOT THE WHOLE CITY! Good grief.

  • Jeff Freuler Aug 18, 10:11 a.m.
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    Also I'm not showing my beliefs about it. Can't speak for the other places however, the community I used to work in said the same about some of the othe largest cities.

    I can say for a fact based on my experience working the streets of Durham.

    Maybe you should go out and ride with Durham PD then you would see

  • Jeff Freuler Aug 18, 10:09 a.m.
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    Shoe doesn't fit here but that is typical of you

  • John Archer Aug 18, 8:33 a.m.
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    If the shoe fits....I work in downtown Durham, and my family and I spend quite a bit of time there every week enjoying the activities offered. Every single city has problems with gangs and crime, including Raleigh, Apex, Cary, etc. Durham is no different in that respect. But y'all are showing your true beliefs by how you depict it.

  • Jeff Freuler Aug 18, 7:46 a.m.
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    I worked in Durham for eight or so years and I've seen the drive by shootings first hand as well as some other heavy duty gang and crime activities. So my comments are from first hand experience and not slander. However, your comment about bigotry.... shame on you for throwing out such a stereotype comment

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