Local News

Solutions to gun violence remain elusive in Durham

Posted February 8, 2021 5:58 p.m. EST
Updated February 8, 2021 7:37 p.m. EST

— After nearly 1,000 shootings occurred in Durham in 2020, the new year is off to the same old, violent start in the city.

The latest data from Durham police shows nearly two dozen shootings in the past few weeks. The city has already had five shooting deaths in 2021, with two happening just hours apart on Cushman and Hardee streets last Wednesday.

Longtime residents say shootings are nothing new, but the frequency in which they’re occurring is disturbing.

“It’s a little rough sometimes when you hear those gunshots. You don’t know to jump on the floor or what," said Anthony Benson, who lives in the McDougald Terrace housing project. "You might be in there laying up watching a movie, then, next thing you know, you may hear 15 to 30 shots, praying and hoping that nobody got hit."

City and community leaders say they want to curb gun violence, but they disagree on how ot do it.

Rev. Paul Scott, who founded The Black Messiah Movement grassroots organization, said tackling gun violence will take a boots-on-the-ground approach through education.

“People aren’t dealing with the root causes," Scott said. "I’m not depending on the city leaders. I’m not depending on the police. I’m depending on the community. Until we deal with and we approach it from that angle, we’ll still be having mothers crying and babies dying."

He said social media is playing a huge role in disputes among young people, which is why he started an online campaign to promote positivity.

Durham leaders said there is no one answer to the gun violence problem.

"We recently agreed as a City Council to expand the Bull City United violence interruption program," Councilman Mark-Anthony Middleton said. "We’re looking forward to launching guaranteed income."

Middleton said he sees progress, but more work needs to be done.

The City Council will begin its budget meetings later this week for the fiscal year that begins in July. Policing and funding for crime prevention initiatives are top items on the agenda.

Scott said the community must put more focus on young people to see a true difference.

“Our motto is stop waiting on a savior and be one," Middleton agreed.

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