Over the years, Durham has taken the rap for being a city with rising crime rates. But at a news conference Monday, many people were smiling, because statistics are going in the opposite direction.
From the look on Chief Theresa Chambers' face, anyone could see that she had some good news to deliver.
"The Durham Police Department and theCity of Durhamare pleased to announce the largest drop in crime since we began keeping computerized crime statistics in 1971," said Chambers.
"Violent crime, which includes murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault, showed the first double-digit decrease since 1980," Chambers added.
In spite of the chief's words and a chart showing steep drops in crime, many people who live and work in Durham are not sold on her message.
"I don't think it's gone down. I think it's, perhaps, much higher than it's probably ever been," said resident Rodney Perry.
"I don't believe it. Too many bank robberies. Too many banks getting hit. Too many customers downtown getting robbed and mugged. I don't see it going down, or I haven't seen any evidence of it from the people I've talked to," said resident Ramone Cunningham.
Chambers admits that Durham has a long way to go compared to towns like Raleigh and Greensboro.
"Right now it was more important for me to compare Durham to Durham. Until we fix things internally, until we felt that we had initiatives and strategies in place, it made no sense. It was an effort in frustration to go comparing to other places," said Chambers.
Some of those initiatives include mapping out crime and setting up district commanders who take parts of the city to keep track of the crime.
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