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Thanks for visiting this news blog, a collection of original reporting and writing by Leanora Minai, former St. Petersburg Times (Tampa Bay Times) reporter, during field work for her short documentary film about mothers who lost their sons to gun homicide in Durham, North Carolina.

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2011 Year in Review: Homicides in Durham

Twenty seven people were murdered in Durham in 2011. A firearm was used in 22 – or 81 percent – of the killings.

It was also a year marked by a 3 percent increase in violent crime in Durham when, according to preliminary FBI semiannual statistics for 2011, the number of reported violent crimes in the U.S. was declining.

And within the first eight days of 2012, three people were fatally shot in Durham.

"This is a very disturbing trend that we, as a community, should not and cannot accept,” Mayor Bill Bell said during a press conference Friday.

Flanked by Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez and about 15 city and county officials in the Durham County Administration Building, Bell announced strategies to reduce gun violence in Durham. They include, among other steps, hefty bails and working to change legislation to ratchet up penalties for gun crimes.

As part of my short documentary film, I’ve been reviewing data related to Durham homicides. Going into 2011, the three-year (2008-2010) average for homicides was 23. Of the 27 homicides in 2011, 11 victims' cases remain open and 13 have been cleared by arrest. Three victims' cases are classified as inactive or not active due to the death of the offender.

I’ve compiled a year-in-review snapshot, which I offer to raise awareness with the hope that it will spark meaningful conversations (even just one) about what can be done to address and mitigate gun violence. With 27 people killed, hundreds of friends and family members are forever changed by the loss.

The following charts and analysis of Durham homicides in 2011 were created by using data from the Durham Police Department and other reports. 

Homicides by Month in 2011

Case Status 

Method of Homicides

Race of Victims

Race of Offenders

Gender of Victims

Gender of Offenders

Age of Victims and Offenders

Anyone with information about the unsolved homicide cases from 2011, or other violent crimes, is asked to call Durham CrimeStoppers at (919) 683-1200. CrimeStoppers offers anonymity and cash rewards for information leading to the arrest and indictment of felony crime offenders.

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Reader Comments (6)

Thanks Leonora - very interesting stats. I wonder how many of these murders were due to domestic violence vs. other kinds of street violence. Thank you again for bringing light to these important issues in our community.
January 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTeri Beckman

Thanks for reading this article and looking over the charts for homicides in Durham in 2011. I've got a query in to the Durham Police Department's public information officer to get an anecdotal explanation or aggregate data regarding motives in Durham's 27 murders last year. I'll be in touch when I hear back.

January 21, 2012 | Registered CommenterLeanora Minai
Thank you so much for the public service you are doing. I can't believe that it took the Durham Police Department nearly two months to present this kind of BASIC DATA to a public records request. It certainly doesn't give me faith that they have the resources to close these kinds of cases and to affect change if they can't process a BASIC public records request in a more timely manner. That is clearly a failure of something over there.
January 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChristina Headrick
There’s two key pieces of data that you haven’t told us. What was the prior criminal record status of the victims and killers?

I’ve done the research on the 2010 Raleigh murders and it was very enlightening.
January 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSean D Sorrentino

I heard back from the public information office this week. Of the 27 homicides in Durham in 2011, nine were domestic-related. The police department would not release the causes on the other homicides.


Thank you for your support, and for being an advocate for public records in the state of North Carolina.


Thanks for your feedback and for sharing your article. Prior criminal record was not part of the records analyzed for this particular article about homicide in Durham.

January 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLeanora Minai

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