It’s not even halfway through January and Durham has experienced three homicides committed with guns, and one person was injured in an armed robbery, according to a press conference Friday held by Mayor Bill Bell. Bell called the press conference with other Durham leaders to discuss new developments and strategies to reduce crimes involving firearms.

The aftershock of these crimes has caused a stir among the community, leaving citizens to wonder what is being done to protect themselves and their families from gun-related crime.

“This is a disturbing trend that we, as a community, should not and cannot accept,” Bell said, “We must renew our efforts and our commitments to reduce gun violence that kills our children, that destroys our families reduces our quality of life.”

Mayor Bell has met with Durham officials along with the Durham County district attorney and staff from The East Durham Children’s Initiative over the past few weeks to discuss strategies to reduce gun violence.

“With these enhanced initiatives, if you are caught illegally carrying a firearm or gun in Durham, you are going to be scrutinized intensely and it is not going to be business as usual.”

The strategy is to focus on the individuals who are using firearms in a criminal and violent way and focuses on the following steps:

  • Revisit bonding guidelines: Find ways to increase bonds for crimes involving firearms and recommend new, harsher penalties for firearm offences.
  • Better communication: There will be regular meetings between law enforcements and the DA’s office, criminal tracking and quicker warrants for violent crime arrests.
  • The police department will focus on top violent crime offenders in each district to let them be aware of their actions leading to a potential arrest as well as focusing on areas where most gun violence occurs: East, Central and the Bull’s Eye area.
  • Stronger community involvement. Especially in North-East Central Durham and the East Durham to involve parents.

According to Mayor Bell, this is one of many conferences to discuss preventive strategies and that this is in no way a “cure-all” for reducing crime, but to start making strides, it’s going to take more than just one individual.

“This is not a one person show” he said. “I am convinced that we have the community will and resources to make an appreciable reduction in crime and I am convinced that we will make it happen.”