Housing leaders, residents, police all want a safer McDougald Terrace
Posted November 25, 2016
Durham, N.C. — 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.