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Crime in Durham Drops, But Doesn't Disappear

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DURHAM — TheCity of Durhamis proud of its latest crime report. The statistics show violent crime dropped in the first six months of this year, but not everyone in Durham is celebrating.

Violent crimes -- murder, rape, armed robbery -- are down 16 percent in the Bull City. Murders are down 33 percent, and rape is down 15 percent.

Police Chief Teresa Chambers says she is cautious about the numbers. Chambers hope the numbers are part of a trend, but she is very aware they are only a measure of the first half of the year.

People who live on Railroad Street, in one of Durham's most dangerous neighborhoods, are also skeptical.

Jesse Reed says his street becomes an open-air drug market at night. Reed blames the system.

"A whole lot of them just get smacked on the back of their hands. Before police can fill out a report, they're right back on the streets selling drugs," Reed said.

Reed also says he has not conducted a scientific survey. He just watches from his porch and says the abandoned buildings across the street are crack houses. Jesse also says he's been robbed, accosted while walking home along Railroad Street.

The downward trend has all come on Chambers' watch. She started in January, and has instituted several new programs.

She is cautious about the good news found in the latest crime statistics.

"We know that we're already making a positive impact," Chambers said. "So it is a good, healthy sign for us and the citizens. But we don't want to be so involved in celebrating success that we forget to look at what is going on today and where we want to go tomorrow."

Police say they are happy with this latest turn-around, but it only covers 6 months. Their goal is to have years of decreasing crime.