Although Durham’s property crime rate has increased in 2013, its violent crime rate declined, according to the Durham Police Department’s annual crime report released March 7.
These trends relate to a slight increase in overall crime, following a 23-year record low in 2012. Although the number of violent crimes decreased, both homicides and rapes increased by 40 percent or more—with 21 homicides in 2012 increasing to 30 in 2013, and 73 rapes in 2012 increasing to 102 in 2013.
“Anytime there’s an increase, there’s cause for concern, but we’re still below the [department’s three year] average,” said Lt. Brian Reitz, executive officer to the Durham Chief of Police.
The report credited the increase in reported homicides and rapes to a change in FBI reporting standards.
“Fondling and other things that did not involve unlawful carnal knowledge were counted as rape,” Reitz said. “Before they changed the definition, rape involved a very specific incident. If you actually went by the old definition of a rape, the numbers are about the same.”
Index crime rate per 100,000 residents is up 3.8 percent from 2012, according to the report. Burglaries and larcenies accounted for the majority of reported property and violent crimes, at 27 percent and 54 percent, respectively. Murder, rape and aggravated assault together constituted 8 percent of total property and violent crimes.
Operation Bull’s Eye—an initiative focusing on reducing crime in a two-mile radius off of Eastern Durham—has resulted in “significant reductions in violent crime and an improvement in the quality of life for residents,” according to the report. The number of reported violent crimes is down 39 percent from 2007.
Reitz emphasized the importance of community involvement in crime reduction.
“We do a lot of innovative campaigns,” Reitz said. “We try to provide crime prevention data to the community, and we have many federal and state partnerships.”
Although the rate of property crimes increased from 2012, property crimes are more common by nature, Reitz noted.
“It’s our larcenies that drove the numbers up,” he said.
Larcenies increased by 8 percent from 2012 to 2013.
Larceny is also the most common crime on campus, noted Chief of Duke Police John Dailey. He added that the number of reported larcenies on campus were down from 2012.
Duke campus police collaborate frequently with Durham police, including a daily meeting with DPD in the morning, Dailey said.