Homicides fall, as overall violent and property crime in Durham rise

Police Chief Cerelyn "C.J." Davis speaks at the Durham Police Department Service Awards Ceremony on May 25, 2017, in Durham, NC.
Police Chief Cerelyn "C.J." Davis speaks at the Durham Police Department Service Awards Ceremony on May 25, 2017, in Durham, NC.

Homicides hit a three-year low in the first nine months of the year, but violent and property crime continued to climb.

Violent crime – homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault incidents – rose 4 percent in the first nine months of the year, compared to the same period last year, Police Chief C.J. Davis told the City Council on Monday night.

Homicides dropped by nearly 47 percent.

There were 16 homicides from January to September compared to 30 during the same time last year and 25 during the same time in 2015.

In total, 24 people have been killed in the city so far this year, compared to 34 by this time last year.

Reported rapes increased 31 percent to 97, compared to the same period in 2016.

There is no indication based that Durham has a serial rape issue, Davis said, as many of the reported rapes involved acquaintances and several involved family members.

Robberies increased 11 percent to 638, and aggravated assaults decreased slightly from 942 to 935.

About a year ago, the Police Department started a robbery task force to focus on robberies of businesses and ones that involved firearms. The task force has made 112 arrests, Davis said.

Council members did not say anything about the numbers

An officer escorting the chief out of the council chamber told a reorter that Davis was not taking questions Monday night. Efforts to schedule an interview with her in recent weeks have been unsuccessful.

Property crime

Overall, property crime – burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft - rose 6 percent to 7,691 incidents, ccording to the third-quarter report.

Burglary continued its downward trend and dropped by 7 percent to 1,738 incidents, while larceny rose10 percent (5,379), motor-vehicle theft rose10 percent (574).

About 44 percent of the larcenies involve thefts from motor vehicles or theft of motor-vehicle parts.

The Police Departments plans to launch a clean car campaign, Davis said, to deter people from leaving items in their vehicles that could be stolen.

Response times

Response times for priority one calls for service averaged about 6.12 minutes, which is longer than the department’s 5.8 minute target, and about the same as the first six months of the year.

The Police Department has a goal of responding to 57 percent of these calls in less than 5 minutes. It responded in less than 5 minutes to 52 percent of these calls in the first nine months of the year.

All sworn officers also participated in a mandatory eight-hour mental health safety course, Davis said.

The Police Department is also in the early stages of opening a Durham Housing Authority community engagement center in the McDougald Terrace public housing complex. Residents asked the City Council earlier this year to open up a police unit there to address crime and shootings in the area.

The Police Department plans to have an open house just before Christmas, Davis said.

Virginia Bridges: 919-829-8924, @virginiabridges