Police officials from throughout North Carolina held a summit on October 13 in Durham to discuss violent crime issues and trends and to identify violent crime reduction strategies.
The summit, which was held at a major corporation, was chaired by Rocky Mount Police Chief James Moore and hosted by Durham Police Chief Jose L. Lopez Sr. “Although North Carolina cities and towns are safer now than they have been for the past three decades, we have recently seen an increase in violent crimes such as homicides and aggravated assaults in several cities and towns,” said Chief Moore. “The purpose of this summit was to have law enforcement officials meet together to identify the critical issues, craft potential strategies and solutions, and focus statewide attention on the problem.”
Mayors and chief town administrators were invited to attend the summit, which included representation from police departments such as Raleigh, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Fayetteville and Wilmington. Smaller agencies like Gaston County, Morrisville and Kinston attended as well. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, United States Marshal Service and the Drug Enforcement Administration were also in attendance. Local representatives included Durham Mayor Bill Bell, Durham County Sheriff Mike Andrews, Durham County Manager Wendell Davis and Durham City Manager Tom Bonfield.
“Violence is not just a Durham issue or a North Carolina issue,” said Chief Lopez. “This is an issue shared by all of our communities and we felt it necessary to bring multiple law enforcement agencies together to collaborate and share ideas.”
Topics of discussion included such issues as illegal drugs, gangs, gun laws, re-offenders and ages of violent offenders. Capt. Michael Paul with the Rocky Mount Police Department made presentations about focused deterrence and the “Social Spyderweb of Crime.” Durham police officials discussed their violent crime reduction strategy.
Outcomes from the summit included a decision to continue the dialog about violent crime at a state level and to highlight the need for community collaboration with residents, educational institutions, faith-based communities and social services organizations.