Caitlin Owens


Chief investigative reporter for the Durham VOICE and UNC-Chapel Hill student. Contact the Durham VOICE staff at

Y.E. Smith students take D.C.

Y.E. Smith students take D.C.

As Donald visited a Wright brothers exhibit, he made an important realization. Donald, a fifth-grader at Y.E. Smith Elementary School, learned the Wright brothers invented a lot of things before finally making the world’s first successful airplane. The exhibit quickly became his favorite part of the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. Samantha Cole knows this because she… Read more →

Many children grow up in single-parent households, which can contribute to their decision to join a gang, law enforcement officials say.(Staff photo by Caitlin Owens)

Durham tries to suppress third-generation gang membership

Although not in a gang herself, one teenage girl has seen several of her peers choose to join a gang in search of acceptance. Money, drugs and relationships with members of the opposite sex serve merely as bonuses. The ultimate prize is the attention and the recognition given to teens by gang membership, said Eleycia Harris, a 17-year-old Durham resident…. Read more →

A 17-year-old Blood member checks Twitter and Facebook on his iPad. (Staff photo by Caitlin Owens)

Gangs’ use of social media on the rise

Gang members’ use of social media sites goes beyond reflecting their identities and gang-related behaviors. It helps create them, Durham gang prevention officials said. Many young gang members actively use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. The effects of social media sites on gang activity are increasing, said Chad Martin, staff member of the resident services branch of the Durham Housing… Read more →

Franklin Village Apartment Complex resident Sheryl Smith raises her granddaughter, one-year-old Ke’Asia, whose father Smith said recently played a role in an unreported shooting.

Reporting crime is part of the crime-solving puzzle

Sometimes bullet holes in the wall of a house serve as the only indication that a crime has occurred. Although Durham officials encourage community members to call the police when a crime is committed, both parties claim that incidents frequently go unreported. Victims often fail to report violent crime in particular. This results from either a desire to handle the… Read more →