Local News

Report: Durham crime lowest in decade, but violent crime up

Posted March 19, 2012
Updated March 20, 2012

— Durham's crime rate last year was its lowest in a decade, although violent crime went up from the year before, according to statistics compiled by the police department.

The annual crime report for 2011, presented by Police Chief Jose Lopez to the City Council Monday, brought good and bad news to the Bull City.

The report states that Durham had 26 homicides in 2011, compared to 24 the year before. The number of reported rapes went down, but robberies and aggravated assaults went up. 

Lopez said that violent crimes last year were down 25 percent since 2001 but up 5 percent over 2010.

Property crime, which accounts for 85 percent of crime in the city, dipped by 2 percent from 2010 to 2011 and plummeted by 31 percent in the past decade.

The largest year-over-year drop was in vehicle thefts, which fell by 16 percent, followed by 4 percent in larceny. Burglary went up by 5 percent.

The overall crime rate in the Bull City is also at its lowest point in over a decade. Between 2000 and 2011, the rate went down from 8,696 to 5,576 crimes per 100,000 residents.

Durham crime map and alerts

"This accomplishment is the result of hard work by our officers and residents of our community," Lopez said in a statement. "Our department has followed a community policing philosophy for many years, and I believe that the partnerships established over the years have created positive change in our community."

Lopez credited initiatives taken over the past year targeting retaliatory violence, gun violence, organized retail theft, burglary, drugs and traffic violations. He praised on community education and prevention efforts, including sports camps, programs in elementary and middle schools, and intervention programs for substance abuse and mental health issues.

The chief cited the Traffic Safety Unit for being one of the few in North Carolina to have all its members certified as child safety seat installers or instructors.

"So many times I heard stories about officers who went above and beyond to help our citizens. They donated time and money to people in need and never asked for any recognition – they were true examples of public servants," Lopez said.

Continued cooperation between the public and the police will be the key to keep the crime falling in the future, the police chief said.

"One thing I do know for sure is that no matter what operation, initiative or action we take, the only common ingredient for success is sustained community involvement and partnership," he said. "The only way to maintain this involvement is by the community trusting the Durham Police Department and working with us to reduce crime in our community.

"We hope to continue to abate crime and work together as partners in 2012."


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  • barbstillkickin Mar 21, 2012

    People are becoming desperate and will do what they have to. I wish things could be right again but until we get people back to work and allow our Police to do their jobs it is just going to get worse.

  • ims1924 Mar 20, 2012

    If we could sit down and discuss the problem we might come up with a solution. Most feel that it is better to let people continue to be murdered than to hurt some feelings by saying what needs to be said. Political correctness is the enemy of the truth.

  • loprestw Mar 20, 2012

    Crime statistics are never exact, violent crime gets reported because when the injured victims go to the hospital, they get report it to the police. But for non violent crime, a lot never gets reported. people don't want to contact the police because they are either, crimminals, know the police won't do anything or they are illegals and want to stay in the shadows.

  • MadMaxx Mar 20, 2012

    Durham should do as Raleigh has done. Tear down the housing projects, build high end condos and townhomes, move the residents to apartments throughout the city on Section 8. That way you can evenly distribute the crime across the city and county.

  • BubbaDuke Mar 20, 2012

    It seems like every day there's some crime committed in Durham in the news. I live to the north of Durham, but I shop in Raleigh. It doesn't take long to figure out you're a potential victim if you stand outside Northgate Mall for two minutes, or drive through a Church's Chicken drive-thru on Miami Blvd. Forget about Alston Avenue, and any street that ends in "Heights". You keep your windows up, doors locked, and eyes straight ahead as you drive through the Braggtown area. And these are the major thoroughfares.

  • working for deadbeats Mar 20, 2012

    It's all in how they report the crime. Psstt...write it up as a larceny instead of a burglary. That's how crime goes down, folks.

  • Coretta Scott Thing Mar 20, 2012

    couldn't give a rat's bottom what the ignorant masses think about Durham. Iknowjack
    So you don't give a rats bottom what Durham residents think about Durham?
    You really don't know Jack. You should change your name.

  • jdupree Mar 20, 2012

    Wounded count down, shot dead up. What a joke!

  • ncouterbanks69 Mar 20, 2012

    But it's cool if sheeple want to denigrate Durham ... it keeps the riffraff out.

    MHM....yea there isn't any riffraff in durham oh no. None.

  • rayh Mar 20, 2012

    If you call them, they will come, any hour, any day, and very, very quickly. They'll do their part but they can't be everywhere, all it takes is a phone call when something looks out of place.