Local News

Police Increase Patrols Near Duke After Crimes

Posted January 21, 2008
Updated January 22, 2008

— Durham and Duke University police will increase patrols near campus, the university said Monday in light of three off-campus crimes over the weekend involving students and an employee.

"The Duke Police Department is extremely concerned about the type and frequencies of crimes that the Duke community has experienced," Aaron Graves, associate vice president for campus safety and security, said Monday in a news release.

At about 7 p.m. Sunday, according to authorities, man robbed a graduate student who was walking north of campus near Poplar Manor Apartments on Louise Circle. The thief took a wallet, cellular phone and iPod.

Police believe the same thief used a gun to rob a Duke employee and his wife who were walking to their apartment at a nearby apartment complex around 10 p.m. The robber took the Duke employee's wallet.

There were no reports of injuries.

And on Friday, Abhijit Mahato, 29, a Ph.D. engineering candidate from India, was found shot to death inside his home at the Anderson Apartments.

Police have not named a suspect or established a motive in his death, and they do not know whether the robberies are related to the homicide.

"It's scary," Duke student Sarah Marshall said. "I hope that they make it safer and put cops out there and do whatever it takes, because I just don't want anything to happen to any other students."

Including the weekend crimes, five Duke students and employees have been crime victims in the past six weeks.

And since January, according to Durham police, there have been 30 robberies targeting Hispanics – including 11 over the weekend – in the area surrounding Duke. Although police have not said whether those crimes could be related, university officials say that what happens in the city affects the university.

That's why university officials also met Monday to review on- and off-campus safety measures, discuss how to respond to recent events and how to help prevent future crimes.

One tactic is e-mail alerts.

"It our effort to give people information, so they can help make decisions and judgments as they go about their daily lives to be aware that this has happened," Graves said. "Hopefully, they can take measures and make judgments that help make them safer."

"People have to be careful." Marshall said. "But you can only be so careful to prevent someone with a gun from going after you."

Authorities describe the assailant in Sunday's robberies as a black man, standing 5 feet 8 inches and wearing black coat with brown fur trim, black pants and white sneakers. He also had on a black or black-and-white bandanna.

Anyone with information about the robberies or Mahato's death should call Duke Police at 919-684-2444 or Durham Crime Stoppers at 919-683-1200. Crime Stoppers pays cash rewards for information leading to arrests in felony cases, and callers never have to identify themselves.


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  • sweetsea Jan 22, 2008

    Of course the answer is to bus kids from more affluent areas to inner city schools to be educated with the young gangstas. Why did we not think of that fifty years ago. But the bottom line is that it is all Bush's fault. Hussein Obama will save us all. Seriously, we have the most recent case of a good mind and no doubt a good human being silenced forever by a mindless animal. And Durham keeps electing the same old folk and one's of their ilk and wonders what the problem is.

  • tab580642 Jan 22, 2008

    while the people in there ivory towers sleep the rest of the world realizes that crime rates are going to go up/are up around the country and it's only going to get worse as the economy continues downward. Also keep in mind that unlike Raleigh, Durham is not the capital city of the state nor does it have the media NOT REPORTING EVERYTHING NEGATIVE THAT HAPPENS THERE. People can say what they want about Durham & no doubt much of it's true, but some of the idiotic comments made by some people here shows just that IGNORANCE. The fact is that most of the people from Raleigh posting live outside of Raliegh's bad neighborhoods, so they count on WRAL to tell them what's going on. Well WRAL tells everything that goes on everywhere else while leaving Raleigh's dirty laudry hidden. the idea that many of you think people should run from Durham because of a few bad apples is just plain stupid.
    The majority of the crimes commited here are amongst 1 bad apple to another or justice amgst thieves.

  • BadDayforButch Jan 21, 2008

    I agree with another comment I read either on this story or on the story concerning the violence being seen (again or still) against Hispanics in Durham. The perp probably thought this victim was another illegal Hispanic immigrant and it would have a high probability of not being reported. I also would not let my daughter consider Duke. Why would I ? She can go to school and be in a much safer environment elsewhere.

  • jonesextra Jan 21, 2008

    Just so you know, the decision to go somewhere else was hers. She is 23. She researched the statistics and made the decision. I only asked her to do her homework first. She will choose a school where she feels safe walking around. This will cost me more money. However, if you do not know about college campuses, the safety is aided by an effective campus police department. Many universities do much, much better. Combine the lackluster campus police with the crime in the area and you get a place that is unattractive.

  • likemenow Jan 21, 2008

    How about maybe increasing patrols in all of Durham, not just where the privilaged-few, out-of-towners live?

  • blondton13 Jan 21, 2008

    Hah. I live in one of these "neighbirhoods" near Duke, and in December we had two of these armed robberies against out Hispanic residents. We're supposed to have security guards. Obviously.
    I'm moving to Hillsborough in March. Left Duke; now I'm leaving Durham. It isn't worth it.

  • sgtstorm1986 Jan 21, 2008

    I think the time is right to combine Durham & Raleigh into one (1) big police dept and all legal and court required actions to be held in the Raleigh side of the new named city which is up for grabs, how does RalDur sound or DurRal, then the gangs could live in the Dur section and mayor Bell could work with the gangs to help them become better Dur citizens, even the education lottery could help fund the change with additional games with revenue going to the Dur gang rebuilding effort, the other option would be just fence in Durham with armed security 24 hr a day, and Duke move out of Durham, leaving Durham without any means of supporting a local gov because Duke pays Durham's payroll, tobacco is long gone, and the mills are gone, the local Durham gov is all the same people, I know Duke would really like to seperate itself from Durham, Duke people are ashamed when they have to tell friends they live in Durham,THIS IS A FACT!

  • MarcoPolo Jan 21, 2008

    Another killing in Durham? Will they count this one in their statistics? King Bill said, “If you’re not involved with crime, you got nothing to worry about.” Unfortunately, his sister Judge Hudson thought he heard, “if your involved with crime, you’ve got nothing to worry about.” Crime rises- big surprise.

    There’s no justice in Durham for anybody not black (& no doubt some destitute blacks might have a case literally), the whole place is corrupt.

    They’ll hold a service for this immigrant Indian student & then they will forget about it. (RIP) He’s got no family/lots of families - who cares? Broadhead will do nothing being an incompetent, loser laughingstock.

    The black gangs got confused & thought he was a Latino, which explains the recent news media emphasis. The robberies/assaults have been in heavy numbers for a long time on the Duke campus or right next to, b/c the gangs figured out Hispanics wont report the crime. No wonder Latinos look for Latino gang prot

  • Space Mountain Jan 21, 2008

    I wonder if crime was this bad back in New Jersey for the Duke kids.

  • fedupwithitall Jan 21, 2008

    Violent Crimes per 1000 people:
    2004 580
    2005 618
    2006 638

    2004 775
    2005 720 2006 937

    Property Crimes per 1000 people Raleigh 2004 3,768 2005 3,773 2006 3,631

    Durham 2004 6,071 2005 5,869 2006 5,679

    See the difference? But, if you still think there is no difference btwn Durham and Raleigh, trust me, that is cool with me. Stay in Durham.