9 April, 2006

Durham Has Highest Murder Rate in North Carolina

Posted by alex in Arboreal Americans, colored crime at 10:06 pm | Permanent Link

Alex,

In the past couple of weeks I’ve never heard this mentioned. Durham has the highest murder rate in N. Carolina? And the media is reporting that one alleged rape “has citizens concerned”?

From all the media reports I thought that the only problem Durham had was a few “white privileged males” getting drunk and rowdy.

That’s really frightening and disturbing! There’s drinking on college campuses? Shocking!

The N&O gives disproportionate attention to crime in Durham, they said, conveying a negative image of their community that scares people from visiting the Triangle’s second-largest city. “Certainly, crime is an issue,” said Deborah Horvitz, “but I think the crime is over-represented.”

The paper should make clear that crime is confined to certain bad neighborhoods, she said, and that most of Durham is safe.

The truth is, though, that Durham does have a murder crime problem, disproportionate to its population size and more troublesome than that of Raleigh and other North Carolina cities As The N&O reported Thursday, Durham’s 37 murders in 2005 gave it the highest homicide rate, 18.9 per 100,000 population, of any North Carolina city.

http://www.newsobserver.com/576/story/391097.html

Durham sees red over crime

Ted Vaden, Staff Writer

Readers in Durham are sensitive about crime. And about newspapers’ coverage thereof.

The message was made clear to News & Observer folk last week at a community forum hosted by the paper in Durham, where coverage of crime was very much on the minds of the 30-plus readers who attended.

The N&O gives disproportionate attention to crime in Durham, they said, conveying a negative image of their community that scares people from visiting the Triangle’s second-largest city. “Certainly, crime is an issue,” said Deborah Horvitz, “but I think the crime is over-represented.”

MaryAnn Black, a former Durham County commissioners chair who now is chair of the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce, said the publicity sends the wrong message to businesses and people who might move to Durham and help make it a better place. The paper should make clear that crime is confined to certain bad neighborhoods, she said, and that most of Durham is safe.

So how did The N&O respond to these gentle coverage suggestions on Wednesday night? The next day’s N&O in Durham had a front-page story headlined “Durham homicide rate high.” The lead editorial said the city needed to get serious about the problem. So much for reader influence on newspaper decision-making.

Actually, the story and editorial were in the works before the meeting. The truth is, though, that Durham does have a murder crime problem, disproportionate to its population size and more troublesome than that of Raleigh and other North Carolina cities. As The N&O reported Thursday, Durham’s 37 murders in 2005 gave it the highest homicide rate, 18.9 per 100,000 population, of any North Carolina city.

Only Charlotte, with 84 killings, had more, but its rate was 12.7 percent. I should point out, as Durhamites do, that overall crime is down in Durham. But murders were up in 2005, and it was the second consecutive year that Durham had the dubious distinction of being North Carolina’s murder capital.

How does a newspaper not report such a problem? It would be irresponsible and a disservice to N&O readers, in Durham and elsewhere, to downplay or sugarcoat that truth. If anything, it’s the newspaper’s role to make sure that the public and politicians are facing up to the issue and taking steps to deal with it.

Orage Quarles III, The N&O’s publisher, made that point at the forum. Durham’s crime is an issue that threatens the health and prosperity not just of Durham, he said, but the entire Triangle. “We’re going to keep talking about crime, and the newspaper will keep raising hell until you all say enough is enough” and address the problem. To his credit, Mayor Bill Bell made crime the focus of his annual “state of the city” speech Tuesday.

Crime isn’t confined to Durham, though, and I was curious whether The N&O does play it up there more than elsewhere. The paper distributes separate editions for Wake and Durham counties, so I checked the papers of the last two months to see how many crime stories ran on either the front page or the City & State front in each edition. During that time, there were 45 local crime stories on the front pages in the Raleigh edition and 50 in the Durham edition. (That edition also includes Orange and Chatham counties, but most of the stories were Durham crimes).

Those numbers don’t tell me much, except that The N&O gives a lot of attention to crime regardless of the readership area (there have been some doozy murder stories in both Durham and Raleigh in the last couple of months). I tend to side with those who tell us from time to time that the paper gives too much attention to the lurid, relative to stories about government, policy and the public agenda issues that help readers be better citizens. A separate reader group, The N&O Community Panel, met last week, and Eileen McGrath of Carrboro noted a week’s worth of stories about a particularly juicy murder in Raleigh before Christmas. “If there’s a possibility that a woman killed her husband,” she said, “The N&O’s tabloid tendency comes out.”

The Durham crime issue is important, and it’s the newspaper’s role to continue reporting aggressively on the murder problem and, more importantly, its causes. But as those at the Durham forum reminded us, readers crave a lot more information about their communities. “I don’t really feel that there’s too much emphasis on the crime,” said Kate Dobbs Ariail. “I just wish there was more coverage of all sort of other interesting things, of science, of children’s events, of the arts.” And, yes, of local and state government. “That’s where I see The N&O has a particularly important role. I really want stories about what’s going on in Raleigh.”

The Public Editor can be reached at Ted.Vaden@newsobserver.com or by calling (919) 836-5700.


  1. Similar posts:

  2. 04/07/06 Just As We Speculated in Goyfire #30… 28% similar
  3. 03/01/07 Nigger Pal of Lyin’ Al Sharpton Calls for Mass Murder of Whites 19% similar
  4. 03/19/06 Teaching Loxism in New York 18% similar
  5. 04/24/06 Minnsanity 16% similar
  6. 04/07/06 It’s Hard Out There for a Pimp 12% similar
  7. 3 Responses to “Durham Has Highest Murder Rate in North Carolina”

    1. alex Says:

      Durham (44% black): murder capitol of N. Carolina (per capita)

      http://www.city-data.com/: more data here, a useful bookmark for cities nationwide

      http://www.city-data.com/city/Durham-North-Carolina.html (see bottom line for crime index)

      -excerpts

      Races in Durham:

      Black (43.8%)
      White Non-Hispanic (42.4%)
      Hispanic (8.6%)
      Other race (4.7%)
      Two or more races (1.9%)
      Asian Indian (1.3%)
      Chinese (1.1%)
      American Indian (0.8%)
      (Total can be greater than 100% because Hispanics could be counted in other races)

    2. Lutjens Says:

      Let me guess the percent of murders commited by blacks… 98%?

    3. joe Says:

      racist bastards!!!