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Major's comments on Durham gang war spark concern

Posted January 27, 2011

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— A high-ranking officer in the Durham County Sheriff’s Office is speaking out about gangs in the county.

Maj. Paul Martin says in a paper he has written that gang warfare among black and Latino gangs is imminent if something doesn’t change.

“It's based upon the fact that innocent Latinos are being targeted and robbed by black gang members,” he said.

Martin says it is his opinion, based on what he’s heard from deputies on the streets, in the jail and in schools. He says it is not a warning for people to pack up and move but to be aware and for officials to react.

“You can measure a lot of things, but when it comes down to it, we need to clean up the streets and have people report the crimes,” Martin said.

Durham County Manager Mike Ruffin says that, although Martin is allowed to have a personal opinion on the issue, he is a high-ranking official and should only make statements that are based on facts.

In this case, he doesn’t have them, Ruffin says.

“I wouldn’t be concerned in most neighborhoods,” Martin said. “I brought this up because I have a concern with public safety. The public needs to know. Instead of attacking the messenger, people need to take proactive steps to prevent this from happening.”

He says programs and initiatives need to be re-evaluated.

“In my opinion, a lot of initiatives that we have need to be looked at closely, because we may not have the return, in terms of accomplishing what they were set out to do,” he said.

Ruffin says that, although Durham has a gang issue, the county is managing it and that it is no worse than anywhere else in the state.

Sheriff Worth Hill agrees.

“Durham gets a bad rap about its image, but we're a lot better off than a lot of other areas,” Hill said.

Hill says budget cuts have pulled deputies off of the streets, making the job of preventing gang violence more difficult.

“If we don't stay on top of it, it could happen,” he said.

“There doesn't need to be any excuses or social utopian grant money,” Martin said. “You have to put the cops on the street and clean up the place.”

Hill assured the public that he's keeping an eye on the problem and knows prevention is the best way to combat gang violence.

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  • robrtllewellyn Jan 28, 2011

    This is an interesting article to read in light of this article. It's a 2007 article in the Herald Sun about the high number of Hispanics that are victims of armed robberies.

    http://juantornoe.blogs.com/hispanictrending/2007/01/nearly_half_of_.html

    Durham PD spokesperson Kammie Michael makes the point that for a 3 month period, 46% of all victims of armed robberies are Hispanic. Its worth reading.

  • The2ruthHurts Jan 28, 2011

    Do not rely on crime statistics since each city/town will classify them as they see fit. Cary may be well off than most of its neighbors but do not believe for a second that it is as great as some make it out to be. Cary does very well with aesthetics and its administration does well in turning the other way when crime is lurking around. I will give them that. Sorry to burst any bubbles but Cary has its fair share of crime and you can show me all the crime stats that you will, it doesnt change the fact that Cary is not immune to what is going around else where. Do any of you really believe that Cary is some sort of crime-free utopia? We can't be that naive, or can we?

  • ccs1920 Jan 28, 2011

    rajuilo/ Cary has pedophiles as does every other community. Nothing else in your comment is even remotely true. You're just running your mouth.

  • renaissancemon Jan 28, 2011

    "Prohibition was repealed yet the crime 'gangs' and organizations and their influence still persist today."

    When the prohibition on alcohol was lifted, the gangs stopped fighting turf wars over illicit alcohol profits. But then the prohibition on other drugs was ramped up. So now the gangs fight turf wars over illicit profits on the other drugs. If aspirin got prohibited they would fight turf wars over aspirin next.

    Ending prohibition will end the artificially high black-market profit margins. That will end the violent turf battles.

  • Dark of the Moon Jan 28, 2011

    You obviously have no clue about Cary. Check out the latest news out of Cary as law enforcement continues to find pedaphiles (sp.)in your neighborhoods. Cary also has gangs (Bloods Hispanic gangs, and Gangster Disciples). Don't let aesthetics misguide you. Cary is notorious for acting ignorant to what goes on in your streets. The PD there have their hands tied as far as law enforcing. The last time I checked the powers at be in Cary frown upon anything that will ruin the "Cary image." A lot of Durham and Raleigh's mid-level and street level drug dealers hide/reside within the Cary limits. FYI, of course.
    rajulio

    ^^^^

    I don't live in Cary.

    All you have to do is look at the police reports and the stats to know where the crime is.

    People can sugarcoat it all they want, but Durham has the worst crime rate in the Triangle and it is a TON higher than Cary.

  • belovedsparrow Jan 28, 2011

    I am glad that someone out there has been able to clearly articulate how things really are with drugs and violence. It seems that we all pretty much know that this is going on yet some want to turn the blind eye. Thank you Mr. Martin for exercising your freedom of speech in such a way as to make what is so obvious to most of plain to those who don't want to acknowlede it.

  • The2ruthHurts Jan 28, 2011

    Dark of the Moon

    You obviously have no clue about Cary. Check out the latest news out of Cary as law enforcement continues to find pedaphiles (sp.)in your neighborhoods. Cary also has gangs (Bloods Hispanic gangs, and Gangster Disciples). Don't let aesthetics misguide you. Cary is notorious for acting ignorant to what goes on in your streets. The PD there have their hands tied as far as law enforcing. The last time I checked the powers at be in Cary frown upon anything that will ruin the "Cary image." A lot of Durham and Raleigh's mid-level and street level drug dealers hide/reside within the Cary limits. FYI, of course.

  • RM24 Jan 28, 2011

    Latinos are targets all over the U.S. Criminals know illegals aren't likely to report crimes against them out of fear of being deported. This is not unique to NC, and this is old news. But somehow Durham needs to get ready for a gang war.

    Well seeing how this is a local station most of the reports are going to be about the local issues. We all know illegals are a major problem in many categories all over the country. However until our president and gov decide that the legal/tax paying citizens are important it dont matter.

  • outback1967 Jan 28, 2011

    As long as they take each other out "who cares"

  • ra8797 Jan 28, 2011

    @ ccs1920: I'm not a sociologist nor criminologist. If you want to know what fuels crime look it up. My issue is with WRAL for publicizing a "paper" that doesn't seem have any reliable sources to back the claims made by the author.

    Latinos are targets all over the U.S. Criminals know illegals aren't likely to report crimes against them out of fear of being deported. This is not unique to NC, and this is old news. But somehow Durham needs to get ready for a gang war.

    It is totally irresponsible for WRAL to report stories this way. Sadly its becoming a familiar pattern with them -- omitting certain facts and perspectives.

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