New Durham police report details slight decrease in violent crime

The Durham Police Department recently released its crime report for the fourth quarter of 2023 and presented it to the city council on Feb. 22. According to the report, overall violent crime has decreased by 3.79% from 2022 to 2023.

However, the decline in violent crime was not reflected in many individual crime statistics. While incidents of robberies and aggravated assaults were down, incidents of homicide cases increased by 8.89% and rape cases increased by 16.30%. 

Moreover, total property crimes, including burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft, were up by 18.94%. Most notably, motor vehicle theft experienced a 134.74% increase, one of the largest increases depicted in the report.

The current deliberation over whether to renew Durham’s ShotSpotter contract was another major focus of the report. 

The Durham City Council initially approved a ShotSpotter pilot program in the 2022-23 fiscal year. The pilot program ran for 12 months, with the first three being free and the remaining nine months costing the city $197,500. The pilot ended last December, meaning the city council must decide whether to sign a three-year contract to continue it. A three-year ShotSpotter program would cost more than $650,000 and would cover the same area as the pilot program. 

Analysis from the Durham Police Department found that ShotSpotter did not have a significant impact on gun violence. There was an 11% increase in shootings from 2022 to 2023 despite the employment of ShotSpotter in the area. 

Nonetheless, ShotSpotter helped police reduce the median response time to confirmed shootings by 88 seconds from the year prior. 

A vote regarding the three-year contract is likely to take place during the next City Council meeting. If Durham decides to abandon ShotSpotter, other crime reduction initiatives will be allocated more funding and research. 

Yasmine Kaplan | Staff Reporter

Yasmine Kaplan is a Trinity sophomore and a staff reporter for the news department.


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