But on Saturday, the department was investigating its third murder this week.
Police discovered Elvin Edgardo Soto Garido dead Friday night near a stairway at an apartment building on Chalk Level Road.
On Saturday night, a bundle of flowers and a handwritten note that read "God Bless You" marked the spot where he died.
Police have not confirmed how the murder happened. They said they responded to an assault at about 7:30 p.m. Friday at 901 Chalk Level Road. When they arrived, police discovered Garido near a stairway suffering from trauma to his head.
Garido was pronounced dead at the scene.
Witnesses said the last time they saw him alive, Garido was sitting on the steps of a stairway when he was attacked by about four or five younger males.
Neighbors said Garido was in his 40s and had four children.
Garido's death makes it the third homicide Durham police responded to in a week.
On Wednesday, 82-year-old Bonnie Daye was found wrapped in a bedspread, neighbors said.
"I can't believe anyone would hurt a man like that," Emma Garner, Daye's neighbor, said.
And then there was Carlos Ramirez Perez, who was shot to death last Saturday. Police announced Friday night that they have arrested a suspect -- Reben Gonzalez Perez -- in this fatal shooting.
All of these murders come around the same time that the Durham Police Department released its first-quarter crime report for 2005, which showed violent crimes was at a four-year low.
"A lot of good things are happening, but it gets overshadowed," Durham Mayor Bill Bell said. "We had a very good crime report that came out, and what happens? You have three homicides."
Even though the police and community are cleaning up crime, some residents said, the number of murders remains constant and the image problem remains.
"Other people perceive Durham as the armpit of North Carolina," Layman Franklin, a Durham resident, said. "I've been told that by state troopers and other people when I mention where I'm from."
Officials with the police department will present the most recent crime report to the Durham City Council Monday night.
"I can assure the citizens of Durham," Bell said, "we're gonna take a much more aggressive approach in dealing with crime in this community."
Anyone with information about these homicides is asked to contact Durham CrimeStoppers at
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