Durham Residents Join Police to Fight Crime
Posted November 17, 2000 6:00 a.m. EST
DURHAM — Durham leaders are asking neighbors to help stop a crime wave in their community. They are highlighting one neighborhood's success story as an example.
Under the watchful eye of neighbors, violent crime in southeast Durham has dropped 9 percent this year. Residents have been working with the city to curb the crime rate.
Durham's neighborhood groups met Saturday for their first gathering since the summer. Back then, residents helped city leaders craft a crime-fighting plan. They say being involved in the process has helped to restore their faith in the police department.
"This is what we're trying to educate our people," says Durham resident Barbara Lofton. "[The police department is] your friend, not your enemy."
Part of the city's approach to fighting crime is asking residents about the problems in their neighborhoods. In southeast Durham, the city installed more street lights, built speed bumps and cracked down on loitering. The changes were made on the advice of the people who live there.
"Instead of us going in and telling them they have a crime problem, they tell us they have a housing problem or a speeding problem or a problem that may not be related to police issues," says Durham Police Capt. B.J. Council of the pro-active changes.
Durham's leaders are proud of the strides they have made in southeastern part of town. Their next challenge is to duplicate that success throughout the rest of the city.
Suggestions from Saturday's meeting included involving teachers and the Latino community in the crime-fighting effort. Officials hope to use those ideas in future plans.