The Sunday News & Observer reported that Durham had three murders in the past eight days. Durham had already had 14 murders in 2019 so that raised the 2019 total to 17 about three times higher than the total during the same time period in 2017.
This is important to Greensboro because Tuesday, May 7 the Greensboro City Council and the Guilford County Board of Commissioners will meet to decide if they want to appropriate about $250,000 each to fund a Cure Violence program in Greensboro.
And Durham is the only city in North Carolina with a Cure Violence program. So it seems to make sense for Greensboro to take look at what has happened in Durham since the Durham County Department of Public Health instituted Bull City United, the Cure Violence program for the City of Durham
Cure Violence is a program designed to reduce violent crime and in particular homicides. Since 2017 Durham County has been spending about $450,000 a year on Bull City United designed to reduce the number of homicides in Durham and by that standard the program has been a dismal failure because since 2017 the number of homicides in Durham has increased dramatically.
Comparison figures are only available through April 27, so they miss the three murders in the last eight days. According to figures from the Durham Police Department from Jan.1, 2017 to April 27, 2017 there were five reported homicides. In 2018 during the same time period there were nine reported homicides and in 2019 from Jan. 1 through April 27 there were 14 reported homicides.
The Durham Police Department also reports that in 2018 there was a 60 percent increase in homicides from 2017. By comparison the Greensboro Police Department reports that there was a 23 percent drop in homicides in 2018 from 2017.
In Greensboro so far year there has been an increase in the number of homicides as of Monday May 6 there have been 14 homicides in Greensboro compared to 11 homicides during the same period in 2018 which is an increase but it is still lower than the 17 homicides in Durham. Greensboro’s population is about 25,000 larger than Durham’s and population is a major factor in deciphering crime statistics.
If the idea is to reduce the number of homicides, it would make a lot more sense for Durham to come to Greensboro and copy what Greensboro is doing with community policing than for Greensboro to copy what the Durham Public Health Department is doing with Bull City United.
You could argue that the homicide rate in Durham would have been much higher without the Cure Violence program, but it would be a tough argument to make that the murder rate would have increased more than 60 percent without the program. It’s particularly difficult when you look at some of the other cities in North Carolina Winston-Salem that had a 4 percent drop and High Point had no change from 2017 to 2018.