New neighbors for NECD: Committee working on recommendation for DPD headquarters move


Northeast Central Durham residents could have new neighbors. City officials are deciding where the new Durham Police Department headquarters will be built and two of three proposed locations are in NECD.

A Durham County Sheriff gets into his police cruiser after leaving Fish-N-Wings on Fayetteville St, located in front of one of the proposed headquarters locations. (Staff photo by Robert Lewis)

A Durham County Sheriff gets into his police cruiser after leaving Fish-N-Wings on Fayetteville St, located in front of one of the proposed headquarters locations. (Staff photo by Robert Lewis)

The two locations are 600 East Main Street and Merrick Street where the Fayette Place apartments once stood.

Jesse Burwell, Assistant Chief of Durham Police Operations Support, said the process for choosing the site is still underway.

According to Burwell the current headquarters was built in the 1950s and was not designed as a police headquarters but as an insurance building.

“It’s falling apart,” said Burwell referring to the current headquarters on West Chapel Hill Street.

“I am on the committee that will make recommendations about the sites to the city manager and he will review our recommendations and then propose them to the City Council and Mayor for a vote,” said Burwell.

The committee is using different criteria to make its decision. Burwell says that finances and the location of the site in relation to major thoroughfares are among the biggest factors.

“I don’t have any data on whether crime is lower around a police headquarters, crime is lowered based on how resources are deployed in the field,” said Burwell.

Five year Cleveland-Holloway resident Matt Dudek has his doubts about both sites.

“The Main St. location could cause damage to the connectivity between East Durham and downtown.  I would be okay with the Fayette Place location as long as the immediate neighbors were okay with it,” said Dudek.

“I would like for them to rebuild the current headquarters on W. Chapel Hill St.  I don’t think residents want to feel like they live in an area that seems like it has a military occupation.”

For many years East Durham has had the reputation of being a hot bed of crime in the city.  In 2007 DPD started “Operation Bullseye” which aimed to bring down crime in an area of two square miles.

The operation used federal funds to pay officers overtime to work the area.  Some officers were ordered not to answer 911 calls to maintain a constant dialogue with the community. The crime rate went down substantially during that two year time period.

Data ranging from the beginning of the 2013 calendar year to the end of October shows that the area in and around NECD is still in need of assistance.

In district one, which encompasses NECD, there have been close to 900 reported cases of larceny/theft, nearly 375 reported burglaries, around 400 reported cases of assault, 90 motor vehicle thefts and 6 homicides. It is important to stress that these statistics are not solely for NECD as district one also includes areas outside NECD.

NECD’s population is around 2800 people and it is only .629 square miles.

“Operation Bullseye” has made a case that more police in NECD could vastly improve conditions in the area citing a 38.6 percent decline in violent crime in the target area over a two-year period.

Assistant Chief Burwell said, “Headquarters is not an operational entity.  No calls are dispatched from headquarters. There are five districts and each district has a substation where officers report for their shifts and that is where 911 calls are directed.”

Councilwoman Cora Cole-McFadden, who represents Ward 1 where NECD lies, will vote on the location of the new headquarters. The decision will be made whether to refurbish the already standing headquarters or move it entirely to one of the NECD locations.

 

 

Weblinks:

http://gisweb.durhamnc.gov/gis_apps/crimedata/mapTool.cfm?CFID=479101&CFTOKEN=55157783

http://www.city-data.com/neighborhood/Northeast-Central-Durham-Durham-NC.html

http://durhamnc.gov/ich/op/DPD/Documents/Operation%20Bulls%20Eye%20Year%202%20Paper%20%283%29.pdf

NCCU Staff Writer


One thought on “New neighbors for NECD: Committee working on recommendation for DPD headquarters move

  1. to be clear, when I was talking about the Fayette Place location, I did not mean it would be a “military occupation,” I had heard other people express the fear it might feel this way to residents when I had asked questions about their opinion of the Fayette Place location. I certainly don’t think the Chapel Hill Street location is a military occupation.

    And the reason I believe the Main Street Location would hurt connectivity is because it would likely require the demolition of buildings used to house non-profits and potentially the two restaurants on the that block, and would likely require a significant amount or parking. Additionally the police headquarters would be closed by 5pm, and would not generate commercial activity along this stretch to connect Golden Belt to downtown.

    – Matt Dudek

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