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DUPD: still exclusive to East

The Durham City Council failed to pass a measure Monday night that would have extended the jurisdiction of the Duke University Police Department to include areas off East Campus.

The Agreement for Police Cooperation and Mutual Aid with Duke University suffered a setback when council member Diane Catotti proposed that the Duke University Police Department report its crime statistics directly to the City of Durham--a process that was not explicit in the agreement. The council hopes to modify the agreement in the upcoming weeks in order to allow the Durham Police Department to review University crime statistics.

Catotti initially noted that the agreement lacked a policy for DUPD to report part one offenses, which include homicide and rape, to the city--a measure that was included in a similar plan between the city and North Carolina Central University. This started a discussion over the absence of University crime statistics in crime numbers for the whole city.

"In the past, regardless of the crime, these crime statistics were not included in the aggregate statistics by the Durham Police Department," said Eugene Brown, a council member.

Leila Humphries, assistant chief of DUPD, said that crime is reported every morning on the department's website and that DUPD never intentionally keeps information from the city. As the authority in its jurisdiction, DUPD reports statistics only to the state.

"We usually report them to the State Bureau of Investigation," added Major Sarah Minnis of DUPD. "We share information with Durham on an as-needed basis."

Mayor Bill Bell noted that it is important for the council to have University crime statistics on hand. However, he said that crime clearance rates for the city might be distorted if University statistics are included in Durham police crime reviews. Such crimes would be reported but listed as uninvestigated, since Durham police would not investigate crimes under DUPD's jurisdiction.

"We can't co-mingle [the data]," Bell said, "but we can get the information."

Bell and City Manager Marcia Conner agreed to implement a process to gather University crime information for the city and to consider an annual review of crime statistics in areas under the University's jurisdiction.

The original agreement will be modified in work sessions later this week and come before the council again in the near future.

University administrators could not be reached for comment after the meeting late Monday night.

IN OTHER NEWS: The council adopted an historic preservation plan for the Watts-Hillandale neighborhood. In addition to protecting many houses that date from the first decades of the twentieth century, the plan will also prevent further commercial zoning in the neighborhood and ease traffic congestion.

"Watts-Hillandale is one of the first Durham suburbs," said Guillo Rodriguez, president of the area neighborhood association. "To preserve this ambiance, countless volunteers have worked since 1994 to prepare a historic district plan. It will be the largest historic district in Durham County."

The council will eventually adopt a new zoning ordinance for the neighborhood that will incorporate additional measures.

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