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Mugging prompts increased patrols in downtown Durham

Posted December 2, 2008

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— The downtown area has significantly less crime than other parts of Durham, but police are trying to increase their presence there after a prominent businessman was attacked in a parking garage last week.

Martin Eakes, 54, co-founder of Self-Help Credit Union, was beaten and robbed by four men on Nov. 24 in a city-owned garage on Corcoran Street. He had to undergo surgery Tuesday for injuries to his arm.

"It was a harrowing experience for him," said Bill Kalkhof, president of Downtown Durham Inc. and a longtime friend of Eakes. "It is unacceptable that this would happen to anybody in a downtown parking garage, and people need to be held responsible for the job they are required to do."

Kalkhof, whose organization encourages revitalization of the downtown area, said all parking decks should have adequate lighting and security.

The Durham Police Department is stepping up patrols downtown, Capt. Loretta Clyburn said, especially with more people coming to the area for events at the new Durham Performing Arts Center.

"I think it is always a good time to increase the police personnel," said Clyburn, who works in the department's Central District, which encompasses downtown. "It was just the No. 1 thing that everybody wanted."

According to department statistics, about 4 percent of Durham's crime occurs in the Central District. Similarly, Raleigh's downtown district sees about 3.5 percent of the Capital City's crime.

The department added a 19-officer bike patrol downtown last summer, and they plan to shift more of those officers to patrol at night.

Some parking garages already have private security, and police are working with the management company of the other decks to make sure security is adequate.

"Any cleanliness issues, any lighting issues, we would definitely contact them," Clyburn said.

Police continue to follow leads in Eakes' attack, but no charges have been filed in the case. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 919-683-1200.

12 Comments

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  • MR EVANS Dec 3, 2008

    Maybe he should have had a gun like Plaxico Burress.

  • icdumbpeople Dec 3, 2008

    "If Mr. Eakes had been carrying a side arm, he'd be without injury and there'd be four less people capable of robbing and beating some one in this world."

    I agree 100% !!

  • kbizzle Dec 3, 2008

    It's outrageous that a person who has worked so hard to help Durham residents gets jacked up by a group of thugs in his own parking deck.

    "It is unacceptable that this would happen to anybody in a downtown parking garage, and people need to be held responsible for the job they are required to do." It appears that Mr. Kalkhof is trying to blame the police here. I understand his frustration but I think it's misleading. The police are hired to protect and serve but they are not to blame if you are attacked. The reality is that you are responsible for your own safety.

    I park in the lot pictured in video that has its own "private security." They seem like nice people but... if something were to happen they would only be able to ride up on their segway scooters and wait for the police to arrive.

  • Stringbean Dec 3, 2008

    Ihis is one of the reason's why the line's where so long at the gun show.right mungo carrying a side arm (with training)is the way to go.

  • Mungo Dec 2, 2008

    If Mr. Eakes had been carrying a side arm, he'd be without injury and there'd be four less people capable of robbing and beating some one in this world.

    The police are always minutes away when seconds count.

  • Timbo Dec 2, 2008

    "Some parking garages already have private security..."

    A lot of good they do.

  • OSX Dec 2, 2008

    I have met a lot of Durham Cops and they are the best people. They are like caged Pittbulls. If Durham's leaders would turn them loose, they would clean up Durham fast. There needs to be a MAYOR over there that needs to open the cage.

  • ifcdirector Dec 2, 2008

    It should prompt a huge increase in the number of people getting concealed carry pistol permits. That should lower the incidence of it one way or the other quite substantially.

  • BULLDOZER Dec 2, 2008

    Suprise, suprise, suprise!

  • likemenow Dec 2, 2008

    Really? In Durham?..maybe the Durham PD finally realized they had a crime problem..what with all the crime and all..or could this possibly a media thrust (in the best sense of the word) to make people think they have the crime situation in control?..nah..Durham PD wouldn't lie, cheat or steal would they?..make up little white lies?..fabricate, falsify or destroy evidence?..Say it ain't so.

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