Local News

Another assault reported on American Tobacco Trail in Durham

Posted August 22, 2012

— A man was assaulted on Durham's American Tobacco Trail Tuesday evening, marking the 11th crime on the trail in 2012, police said. 

According to police, the man was jogging around 7:30 p.m. when he noticed four or five youths between 12 and 16 years old loitering on the trail between Otis Street and Fayetteville Road.

The jogger ran by them and continued down the trail, but as he was returning, the group assaulted him. Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez said the youths threw things at the jogger and tried to trip him.

The man wasn't seriously injured and was able to get home, where he called police.

Six of the reported crimes on the trail this year have been assaults. There have also been four robberies and one case of indecent exposure, according to data provided by the Durham Police Department.

In 2011, five robberies, two assaults and six cases of indecent exposure were reported on the Durham portion of the trail.

"The simple assaults don't appear to be motivated by robbery. It appears to be motivated more by mischievousness and the locations where they find individuals who are clearly running by themselves," Lopez said.

The Durham Police Department has increased patrols in the area – both undercover and uniformed officers on foot and on bicycles – and is getting some all-terrain vehicles to help with the patrols. The department also is considering installing surveillance cameras along the trail.

American Tobacco Trail Durham police ask for public's help to keep crime on trail in check

Lopez said, however, that it's impossible for officers to be everywhere on the 7½  miles of the trail that run through Durham, so he asked that the public help identify groups of teens hanging out on the trail.

"We need to identify the individuals who are causing this, because we're not talking about a whole lot of people," he said. "We know that there are people in this community who know who they are."

Some Durham residents who live near the trail have written to Durham City Council members and other officials about recent crime on the trail, and many said they no longer use it.

Chris Vant Hof, who runs on the trail two to three times a week, said he thinks the number of crimes reported on the trail is small for the number of people who use it. He said the assaults won't keep him from his jogs.

"I usually go midday, so it's usually not (dangerous). I'm not very concerned about it," Vant Hof said.

Police recommend that people go on the trail in pairs, avoid groups that are loitering in the area and carry cellphones to report suspicious activity.

Anyone with information about Tuesday's assault is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 919-683-1200.

222 Comments

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  • GK N.Ral Aug 24, 8:04 a.m.

    Can you cary concealed weapon on this trail?

  • Just another bad guy Aug 23, 12:27 p.m.

    This is so unfortunate. Young kids giving the Durham PD and town officials an invitation to violate the rights of everyone in their community. I could see a scenario where someone goes on this trail LOOKING for trouble and end up murdering one of these young people "George Zimmerman" style. I guess they are just bored teens like the kids that were breaking into homes in Cary NC, huh?

    That is a good idea. We need less of these kids around no matter who takes them off the street. Right now the police have a monopoly on the justice system and that isn't very American.

  • readme Aug 23, 12:09 p.m.

    Perhaps if we were tougher on crime, especially for teens under 18, this would be less of an issue. I say open the prison doors and let all the drug users go, then people convicted of theft and assualt stay ther twice as long.

  • MadMaxx Aug 23, 12:08 p.m.

    figure a few gun toting joggers will fix this problem.

  • readme Aug 23, 12:07 p.m.

    "Yes, I run red lights when in durham ( after looking both ways of course ). Tell you what, I'd rather have a ticket in my hand than a tag on my toe any day!" Monca. I see everyone is flaming you for this. But actually doing that in several countries I know of with rampant crime is legal, because it does help protect you from carjackings and so forth. It's not that dangerous if you are careful. Ignore the haters here and do what you gotta do to be safe.

  • btneast Aug 23, 11:52 a.m.

    It just highlights the fact that you think you're above the law and are arrogant enough to brag about it.

    ....No he doesn't......he values his and his families survival above coming to a complete stop....don't over dramatize it....

  • Its the who what Aug 23, 11:39 a.m.

    This is so unfortunate. Young kids giving the Durham PD and town officials an invitation to violate the rights of everyone in their community. I could see a scenario where someone goes on this trail LOOKING for trouble and end up murdering one of these young people "George Zimmerman" style. I guess they are just bored teens like the kids that were breaking into homes in Cary NC, huh?

  • mustangyts Aug 23, 11:30 a.m.

    All produced and nurtured by the democratic party! LOL Every city in America has them, and the dems bank on them for support. We feed you with tax payers money, and you vote for us. This is just one of many results of entitlement programs. These guys are now getting government cell phones. When does it end??????????

  • LorettaNC Aug 23, 11:15 a.m.

    You're right btneast - I actually meant to include that in my post.

  • nisa-pizza Aug 23, 11:02 a.m.

    "Yes, I run red lights when in durham ( after looking both ways of course ). Tell you what, I'd rather have a ticket in my hand than a tag on my toe any day!" -Monca

    What about the other people you could kill like pedestrians, or moped riders that are hard to see just because you don't think the world-wide law of stopping at a stop sign/light (all countries have them) applies to you! I've had a friend killed by someone running stop signs ACCIDENTLY and hitting them, but somehow you, out of the entire world population think that this law does not apply to you. (Unless the light is malfunctioning, which you did not mention).

    That is the most selfish thing I've ever heard of. That's quite the sense of entitlement that you have there. "Looking both ways" doesn't negate or nullify the law. It just highlights the fact that you think you're above the law and are arrogant enough to brag about it.

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