Forty-two people have died at the hands of others in Durham, N.C., this year, almost double the number killed last year and the most in any one year since the city began counting homicides in 1980. This year is also notable because 198 people have been shot or suffered shooting-related injuries in 2015, more than double the 95 shooting victims in 2014. Guns were the weapons used in nearly 70 percent of the homicides this year, reports the Raleigh News & Observer. This year's steep rise from the prior year is “very concerning,” City Manager Tom Bonfield said. The challenge, he and police Chief Jose Lopez said, is that the 42 homicides occurred under a variety of circumstances. Ten of the homicides were described as domestic cases in which the victims and perpetrators were related, including four in which the victims were 3 years old or younger. In four cases, the homicides were ruled justifiable self-defense.
Lopez said that a backlash against law enforcement has emboldened criminals and kept the public from sharing information with police. “It is only going to get worse,” said Rodney Williams, co-founder of Walk for Life, an advocacy group that tries to get residents of high-crime neighborhoods engaged in crime-fighting efforts. In the last few months, a number of high-ranking gang members have been arrested, he said. “Right now, there is no structure in the Bloods and the Crips,” Williams said. “So these young men are like live wires. Nobody has any control.”