Local News

Group hopes mothers can curb Durham crime

Posted August 2, 2013

— Seventeen people have been killed in Durham this year, compared with 13 through the first seven months of 2012.

Most of the victims – and most of the people charged with their deaths – are young and black. That fact saddens Durham officials, who have worked for years to put programs in place and increase police patrols to help curb crime.

"It's horrendous, it's sad and depressing," City Councilman Eugene Brown said.

"The police can't solve the problem alone," he said. "There needs to be some good organizing at the grassroots level to counter this."

District Judge Elaine Bushfan, who has heard criminal cases for 20 years, decided last year to become more involved outside her courtroom.

"We can stop some of the things that are happening, especially with our young African-American males," said Bushfan, who pulled together a group of friends to target the mothers of young, black men in Durham.

Durham District Judge Elaine Bushfan Durham judge becomes 'godmother' to community

"We wanted to go to other women and begin to instill in them a sense of community and who they are," she said. "The men will follow."

The group, which calls itself "The Godmothers," didn't gain traction at first. No one showed up to Hoover Road neighborhood meetings. Eventually, women started coming around, and the group is now helping them plan activities for the National Night Out anti-crime effort.

"We can work on crime prevention and are working on that, but what we really need to be working on is building relationships, building opportunities," said Wendy Clark, a member of The Godmothers.


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  • My GOLO Screen Name Aug 2, 2013

    At least they're trying to help the real issues and acknowledging them rather than finger pointing. Everyone should support this and hope for success.

  • turkeydance Aug 2, 2013

    maybe the Godmothers will work. Lord knows, Durham has tried every other thing out there, and the situation keeps getting worse.

  • Just the facts mam Aug 2, 2013

    It is good to hear of someone recognizing the problem and trying to address the problem - rather than just blaming others as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson do. Facts are a funny thing, and often is not accurately portrayed by the media, as what happened with Martin\Zimmerman. But where are the males in this story? They should be setting an example and raising their children as they have done for millions of years! But they are AWOL, due to to ahort-sided, small-thinking federal government policies in my opinion.

  • stymieindurham Aug 2, 2013

    " . . . building relationships, building opportunities . . . "

    I don't see anything in this article that addresses the single mother issue and the lazy babby-daddy's. Reads like falling back into the "it takes a village" theory and no personal responsability. .

  • stymieindurham Aug 2, 2013

    ". . . . increase police patrols to help curb crime."

    This is nonsense! Most all crimes are crimes of opportunity. they will occur when the opportunity best suits the offender. The courts are where the first line of defense should be.

  • AlbertEinstein Aug 2, 2013

    Illogical - how does one profess to provide for their well being on the fringe of government while attempting to establish that their "voice" has meaning to gangs and other factions of organized crime?

  • bullblood9 Aug 2, 2013

    any effort helps...best of luck all involved

  • carrboroyouth Aug 2, 2013

    Why does this sort of child raising responsibility only fall on women?

  • TheConundrum Aug 2, 2013

    I must commend them...finally someone is putting the onus of such violence on the people who have the most influence over it. It has always baffled when combating issues of this nature the parents of these children aren't held accountable for their actions. You don't wake up at age 15 from a loving caring home and think "I'm going to shoot someone today because of their clothing choice." Police aren't there to parent, they are there to either prevent these people from committing crimes or apprehending them afterwards. To change the culture, the mentality, it's up the the parents. As a black male tired of hearing about this violence I am glad someone is acknowledging the heart of the issue.

  • sunshine1040 Aug 2, 2013

    And where are the Dad during these meetings It took to make the child for a reason a decision that should not be made lightly and both parents should be required to be at every school meeting with the principle and with the judge, No father on record then no more medicade food stamps aid for dependent children etc. Unless a rape was reported 7 to 9 months before the childs birth