Durham’s crime rate through the first nine months of 2014 remained higher than for the same period a year earlier, but the difference was coming down according to Police Chief Jose L. Lopez’s third-quarter crime report.
Lopez delivered the report at Monday night’s City Council meeting.
Through Sept. 30, there had been 1,402 reported incidents of violent crime – homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault – up from 1,174 at the same point in 2013, a 19 percent increase.
That percentage, though, was down from the 30 percent increase shown when comparing the first six months of 2014 to the same period in 2013. That jump in violent crime was largely due to a rash of shootings into occupied buildings and vehicles early in the year.
“We’re still working on a lot of those cases and working with the community to identify some individuals who may have been involved,” Lopez said, speaking with reporters before making his presentation to the council.
Police have said the shootings – counted among aggravated assaults – were mostly prompted by a feud between two factions of the Bloods gang.
The feud “has not gone away (but) it is not what it was,” Lopez said.
Durham’s homicide numbers were down for the first nine months, from 19 in 2013 to 17 this year. Through Monday, there had been 20 homicides in Durham during 2014, down from 24 on the same date a year earlier.
Police have made arrests in 12 of the homicides and have two arrest warrants in one other case, Lopez said.
Regarding robberies, Lopez said, “In this past week we made some good arrests – two pair of serial robbers,” one pair targeting convenience stores and the other targeting pizza delivery drivers.
Mayor Bill Bell said he was particularly pleased about those arrests, but he was dismayed that all four of those arrested were young black men.
“Somehow, we’ve got to get the message out that if they commit these crimes, they’re going to get caught,” Bell said. “Great police work, but a sorry state of affairs when our young African American males are getting involved with these issues.”
Property crime – burglary, larceny and motor-vehicle theft – was up 5 percent through September.
Of the larcenies, Lopez said, 28 percent were cases of shoplifting and almost 40 percent were thefts from motor vehicles.
“We’re working with a large number of retail establishments (to curb shoplifting),” he said, and police plan to run some TV promotions to encourage citizens to lock their cars.