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Durham Neighborhood Takes Active Role In Crime Prevention

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DURHAM — Every town has good areas and not-so-good areas. Some turn their heads to crime, while others stare it down. Residents in one Durham neighborhood say they just believe in getting involved. With cozy bungalows and historic homes, Durham's Trinity Park is a neighborhood with an old-fashioned sense of community, but two recent sexual assaults have put residents on guard.

But, two recent sexual assaults have put residents on guard. Craig Popelars and his neighbors are not hiding behind doors, letting police do all the work. They are getting involved.

"Something like this, it's a kick in the teeth," Popelars says. "Once we heard about the news, we quickly sent out e-mail to each of our block captains."

The neighborhood association went door to door with warnings and posted more than 1,000 composites of the suspect around the neighborhood.

"We now have a thousand eyes and ears on the problem," Popelars says.

Residents also managed to raise their own reward money in less than 48 hours. They collected $2,500 from residents, churches and nearby businesses.

Corporal Coleman Spivey of theDurham Police Departmentsays it is important that residents empower themselves and take an active role in crime prevention.

"I think it's commendable," Spivey says. "As we become more and more accepted as part of the community, you see a lot more interaction, a lot more involvement and you see members of the community come out and help us solve these types of problems."

Their proactive approach does not just stop with the fliers. Residents plan to meet with officers and rape crisis counselors this weekend to educate themselves and see if there is anything else they can do to get the suspect behind bars.