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The City of Durham’s police chief lost his job because of a growing violent crime rate. That’s a tough call for any city executive. Some would argue that you can’t blame law enforcement for crimes in a community. It’s difficult to prevent major crimes. Ask the mayors of Chicago, New Orleans and yes, Durham.

Murder, in particular, is hard to prevent. 

“Propensity to crime develops in stages associated with major psychological and sociological factors. The factors are not caused by race or poverty, and the stages are the normal tasks of growing up that every child confronts as he gets older,” says Patrick Fagan of the Heritage Foundation. “In the case of future violent criminals, the absence of the love, affection, and dedication of both his parents becomes perverse exercises, frustrating his needs and stunting his ability to belong,” Fagan adds.

Statistically, some communities must be more fortunate than others for reasons that escape the experts. Fayetteville is thought of as a violent city. But last year, the murder rate was down from the year before, and the year before that. In 2015, only 17 homicides were recorded in Fayetteville, according to Police Lt. David McLaurin. Chief of Detective Katherine Bryant says one other case is pending…the violent death of a 3-year-old baby. Bryant says the state medical examiner has not yet determined the cause of death.

Contrast that with 42 homicides in Durham last year. It’s a city of comparable size and demographic makeup. Fayetteville City Manager Ted Voorhees will tell you that’s where the similarities end, making the significant difference in murders remarkable. Voorhees was Durham’s Deputy City Manager before coming to Fayetteville three years ago. 

 

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