Local News

Downtown Durham Getting Extra Attention From Police

Posted February 1, 2001 6:00 a.m. EST

— Downtown Durham is not a dangerous place, according to crime statistics. But to help battle a perception problem, Durham police officers are beefing up their patrols in the heart of the Bull City.

A new unit of the Durham Police Department is focusing its patrol efforts in downtown Durham, where aggressive panhandling and car break-ins are the two biggest crime problems.

Denny Clark owns a printing business downtown. Under the old patrol system, he says he was disappointed by the Police Department's response to two of his calls for help.

"One of those the first year we were here, the officer never arrived because he couldn't find us," Clark says. "The second of those took 45 minutes."

The business community believes the new patrol district will make the Police Department more accountable.

"We now have one central commander who is accountable, so if things need to change, we know exactly who to talk with to make this a safe environment," says Bill Kalkhof ofDowntown Durham, Inc., a development organization.

The new police district was made possible by a reorganization of existing officers. The district will be staffed with 29 officers, covering the business corridor from Rutherford Street to N. Alston Avenue.