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Durham taking aim at gun crimes

Posted January 13, 2012

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— People who commit crimes with firearms in Durham will face swifter justice than in the past, city officials said Friday in announcing a crackdown on gun-related offenses.

"If you're caught illegally (with) a gun in Durham, you're going to be scrutinized intensely, and it's not going to be business as usual," Mayor Bill Bell said. "Likewise, for those who commit crimes with illegal guns or legal firearms, we're going to seek the highest penalties."

Violent crime in Durham increased by 3 percent in 2011, Bell said, prompting him to put together a group of community leaders, including city and county officials, law enforcement authorities, prosecutors and judges, to devise strategies to combat gun violence.

Three people have already been killed in Durham since Jan. 1.

"This is a very disturbing trend that we, as a community, should not and cannot accept," he said of the growing violence in Durham. "There are too many people in whose hands firearms are being misused to the detriment of our community."

The first initiative the group rolled out calls for imposing higher bonds on people charged with crimes involving guns, including first-time offenders, and increased coordination between the Durham Police Department, Durham County Sheriff's Office and the Durham County District Attorney's Office to ensure such crimes are handled quickly and efficiently.

Officials also plan to lobby state lawmakers for stiffer penalties for people convicted of gun-related offenses, Bell said.

Police lights generic, blue lights Gun crimes target of Durham initiatives

Chief District Judge Marcia Morey has already assigned a magistrate to the police department on weekdays to speed up the issuance of warrants.

"We're going to continue to see about ensuring that an individual who's arrested, especially for a violent crime, doesn't spend that night at home and that the victims don't see them back on the block," Police Chief Jose Lopez said.

Morey said Durham County magistrates will continue to follow general guidelines for setting bonds but will take the effort to halt gun crimes to heart.

"I think the mayor's message is clear," Morey said. "He's not instructing the courts what to do. We will do what we do by the laws and guidelines, but we're all paying attention to it."

Bell said police and community groups are going to start targeting high-crime areas like northeast central Durham and east Durham. He said he doesn't want to brand them as unsafe neighborhoods but said statistics show that they need more attention from police.

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  • kermit60 Jan 17, 2012

    Wow enforce the law, what a revolutioinary concept. I'm all for it as long as they make sure the gun was illegal or used illegally. These things tend to get out of hand and innocent people seem to get caught up in the need to look like we're doing something.

  • censorbait Jan 16, 2012

    Orlando Hudson and Carl Fox will turn them loose faster than the police can arrest them.

  • haggis basher Jan 16, 2012

    "Talk is cheap. We've heard this same rhetoric from Obama for 3 years and things keep getting worse."

    Whats getting worse? Crime overall is down.

  • haggis basher Jan 16, 2012

    "One might wonder why the highest penalties have not always been sought in these cases? Could it be somebody has been trying to appease the drug dealers and gun slingers?"

    Because its much cheaper to get them to plea deal.....of course if we could raise taxes and pay the judges and build the extra prisons........

  • Bill of Rights Jan 13, 2012

    eyeoneastsky: curfews restrict the movements of free people. And what exactly will give the "guard" the jurisdiction to do these "raids" in the bad neighborhoods? Again -- I'm all for law enforcement, but not when it compromises our basic constitutional rights.

  • WRALSUCKS Jan 13, 2012

    Took you long enough, Durham

    Ain't it grand to be a "sanctuary city"?

  • leatmon Jan 13, 2012

    get your drug dealer off the street ,then you will cut down all crimes

  • eyeoneastsky Jan 13, 2012

    One might wonder why the highest penalties have not always been sought in these cases? Could it be somebody has been trying to appease the drug dealers and gun slingers?

  • Uhavenoclu Jan 13, 2012

    People who commit crimes with firearms in Durham will face swifter justice than in the past, city officials said Friday in announcing a crackdown on gun-related offenses.

    Are you trying to say and the next story will be that drugs are down in Durham...Crackdown?

  • WooHoo2You Jan 13, 2012

    Talk is cheap. We've heard this same rhetoric from Obama for 3 years and things keep getting worse.-whatusay

    At least we know who can and CANNOT stay on topic and who DOES or does not not have any obsessive issues....

    I think I saw an article about puppies you have not spun obama into yet.

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