More deaths, fewer assaults in Durham so far this year
Posted December 16, 2013
Updated December 17, 2013
Hours after two people were gunned down at Cheek Road bus stop, Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez delivered his quarterly crime report to the city council.
Despite several high-profile crimes, the numbers paint an improving picture, he said.
"We realize we have had several violent crimes that have made the headlines," Lopez said. "I am here to share information about the third quarter report, which is very good."
The report, which tracks crime through the first three quarters of 2013, shows serious violent crime in the city is down by 8 percent. The drop is due mostly to a decrease in aggravated assaults.
Homicides are up in the city. Through Sept. 30, there were 31 – 12 percent more than through the same period in 2012.
"We are investigating homicides," Lopez told the council. "We have a lot more than we have had in other years."
Mayor Bill Bell and members of the council, after voicing support for Lopez's leadership, pointed the finger at a particular problem.
"The vast majority of it is black-on-black crime and we have to find a way to deal with that," said Bell, who is African-American.
A resident in the audience pushed back.
"We have got to get a new police chief in the city. We have had too many murders, too many deaths," the woman said.
City leaders instead called for patience, and Lopez asked, not for the first time, for help.
"We need this community to help us. It can not be the police all the time," he said.
"I do not think expecting the police chief to solve it all is a reasonable thing to expect."
The crime report was through September. Through Dec. 16, 31 homicides were recorded in Durham.