Local News

Durham Police Bolster Efforts To Prevent Crime On Canal Street

Posted December 7, 1999 6:00 a.m. EST

— Police are taking back the streets in oneDurhamneighborhood. They are taking a new approach to solve one crime and keep it from happening again.

A task force of Durham officers took over the streets in one neighborhood to solve a murder and to send a message.

Callina Smith, a resident on Canal Street, is on a mission to keep the children who play in the neighborhood safe.

"I'm walking and talking to those who are afraid to come out," Smith said.

More than 50 officers are taking over the streets. For four hours on Wednesday, they walked on Canal Street and looked for suspects and information about any past criminal activity.

Capt. Robin James of theDurham Police Departmentsays there is another motive behind this show of force.

"We want them to know that this is their way we're going to respond," James said. "This is a new day in Durham as far as how we respond to homicides and violent crimes."

Smith says the scene is a sign of hope for her neighborhood.

"Drugs are coming from New York and everywhere," Smith said. "My dream for the neighborhood is that people get up and take some responsibility for their kids some of them being 13, 14 and 15-year olds selling drugs."

"We've got to go back to where we came from, a little village," Smith said. "We didn't even have to lock our doors."

Smith and some of her neighbors say they are afraid that as soon as the officers leave, the drug dealers and prostitutes will be right back.

Durham police say this is an on-going program and could soon be seen in other neighborhoods.