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Durham reacts to story claiming city's crime crosses over to Chapel Hill

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DURHAM, N.C. -

Five years after the murder of UNC student body president Eve Carson, a controversial article is stirring the debate over crime in Chapel Hill.

The UNC student newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel, ran a story about crime in Chapel Hill and its connection to Durham.

The article talked about the murder of Carson at the hands of two men from Durham.

The story also reviewed crime reports in the past ten years saying 46 percent of murders or attempted murders in Chapel Hill were committed by Durham residents.

It also said Durham residents accounted for at least 30 percent of property crime in Chapel Hill, along with 18 percent of the robberies.

That's created a backlash from both communities.

"That an argument that sloppy and frankly border-line racist was put in a publication of that magnitude is sad," said Chapel Hill resident Michael Woods.

Woods manages the Beyu Caffe on Main Street in Durham and a former staff member of the Daily Tar Heel.

"The disrespect that was shown was shown to Durham residents in general by that article, and the sloppy way people were lumped together is something I think the DTH staff as well as all Tar Heels should find troubling," said Woods.

He says he's very upset by the tone of the article by city editor Chelsea Dulaney.

"It was just a very troubling representation of old stereotypes about Durham and about this area," he said.

Durham supporters say it's a real city with real problems but it's not real bad.

"There is a percentage of people from Durham who go to Chapel Hill and perhaps commit crime but that happens anywhere where you have the geography we have," said Shelly Green, the President of Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The article also has been a topic of conversation all over Durham.

"I think the article is just a product of that old stigma that's been hanging around," said Durham resident Eddie Sanford.

Meanwhile, Durham's boosters say the Daily Tar Heel staffers need to see the real city.

"I sent them a note this morning saying, 'Give me a chance and come over to Durham and let me take you around for a whole day,'" Green said. 

  • DIG DEEPER:  Click here to read the Durham Visitor's Bureau response to The Daily Tar Heel Article.  To see Durham's 10-year crime stats, click here. To read the letter of invitation sent to the Daily Tar Heel editorial staff click here.

Steve Sbraccia

Steve is an award-winning reporter for WNCN and former assistant professor. A seasoned professional, Steve is proud to call the Triangle home since 2005 after over two decades in Boston, Mass.  More>>

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