Local News

Housing leaders, residents, police all want a safer McDougald Terrace

Posted November 25, 2016

— In the southeast Durham neighborhood where a man was shot and killed by police on Tuesday afternoon, residents, parents, patrol officers and the chief of the city housing authority know change is necessary.

“We know that there have been many concerns about the safety of the community for some time," said Anthony Scott, CEO of the Durham Housing Authority.

Scott, who took the leadership position in July, said he was only on the job a few days before he began to get complaints about crime in McDougald Terrace.

"Within the first week of my arrival, I got a call from a concerned resident who said, 'You know, we’ve got to do something about what’s going on at McDougald,'" Scott said.

One person said tensions between police and residents long pre-dated this week's shooting death of Frank Nathaniel Clark, 34.

"I didn’t trust the police way before then," that person said.

The resident said economic realities trap some in a situation where they don't feel safe.

"My money won’t let me live nowhere else," the person added.

Resident Ora Smith, who has children ranging in age from 8 to 14 years old, said she's afraid to let them play outside.

"I keep them indoors more than outdoors," she said. "You never know when the bullets are going to come," she said.

Smith had structural suggestions for an upgrade to her neighborhood as well.

"There’s too many openings where people can duck in, duck out, where police have a hard time catching them," she said. "I would like to see some changes as far as our doors around here. I think they’re too weak and that anybody could just kick the door in and come in."

Resident Georgetta Ray hopes for change but seemed resigned.

“Every day I’m in fear since I’ve been staying right here,” she said. “It is what it is. This is McDougald.”

Her suggestion: Activities to distract restless young people from turning to violence and crime.

“We need something out here more positive for the youth," Ray said, "because there’s no activities out here for these kids.”

Scott, the housing authority director, said voices like those of Ray and Smith are important, as is participation from police.

"The partnerships are critical in terms of looking at how the police department can be partners with the residents and the housing authority and the larger community. It’s all going to be part of the solution of how we create safer communities," he said.

Scott said he and police will lead a community conversation Monday evening at 6 at the T.A. Grady Recreation Center, at 531 Lakeland St.


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  • Norman Lewis Nov 26, 2016
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    I will bet if the police increased their presence in the neighborhood and started arresting more people, the residents would start to complain about harassment and profiling. If they complain specifically about crime, drugs, gang bangers etc. and the police don't help, they have a real complaint. They apparently want protection from the elements in their community they are fully aware of the identities without any effort on their part. You can't have it both ways. Report the bad guys. Poverty is no excuse for crime. My parents grew up with no running water, no toilets, no welfare, no monthly checks and turned out fairly well. This is not a racial issue.

  • Alfred Barnes Nov 25, 2016
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    Assuming, of course, the CBC is still willing to go in without armed protection.

  • Alfred Barnes Nov 25, 2016
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    Ethan, congrats on pulling yourself up. The answer is obvious, although your point is noted. The nanny state would take the place of God, and play God. It's up to those of us who believe the truth of God's rightly divided word and will to counter the evil that is in the world, including the wisdom of man.

  • Ethan Mathews Nov 25, 2016
    user avatar

    Just curious, why aren't there any housing projects in Durham full of white people? Anyone care to give me a warranted answer? And before you say race and poverty is a factor, I grew up extremely poor, broken home, spent time in Oxford orphanage, and was passed around between relatives until I was 14. Paid for my own school clothes, class ring, car, gas and insurance when I was 16. I worked 3 jobs and was living by myself at 19. I wasn't that smart in school, but I had a strong work ethic and wanted a better life than the hand I was dealt. Why are these folks living in public housing complex's for extended periods if they aren't mentally or physically handicapped?

  • Jerry Powell Nov 25, 2016
    user avatar

    Alrighty then, let's do what needs to make Mr/Mrs/Ms Unamed Person feel safe in McDougal Terrace. Let's remove ALL law enforcement from McDougal Terrace since the policy of CBC seems to be to only seek out those who oppose law enforcement, and then in 90 days CBC can send a crew back to interview Mr/Mrs/Ms Person if they are still available.