Durham authorities seize nearly 500 guns this year, but shootings still on the rise

North Carolina

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — From bullets flying into kids’ bedrooms, to teenagers getting shot and killed, shootings in Durham continue to surge.

The number of people shot in Durham is up this year as police data shows 119 people have been shot in 2021.

That number surpasses the 117 people who were shot this time last year in Durham, and 2020 was a record-breaking year for shootings in the city.

Meanwhile, in the first six months of the year, the Durham Police Department seized 400 firearms, and the Durham County Sheriff’s Office has taken 92 firearms off the street in the same time frame.

Combined, Durham authorities have seized 492 guns this year, which is nearly 100 guns more than the 411 firearms seized this time last year by the two agencies.

The Durham County Sheriff’s Office sent CBS 17 pictures of handguns seized during traffic stops and the Sheriff’s Targeted Enforcement Program (STEP) operations.

During the STEP operations, deputies will target people suspected of gun violence or gang activity.

Leonard Sipes, a former law enforcement officer and founder of CrimeinAmerica.net, said these firearm seizures show that Durham is on the right track to tackling the problem with gun violence.

“You do want to arrest people who shouldn’t have firearms,” Sipes said. “What the city of Durham is doing is wonderful, in terms of aggressively going out and going after people with firearms.”

But Sipes said getting firearms off the street will not solve the whole problem.

“It’s not necessarily the number of handguns you take off the street, but who you take the handguns from,” Sipes said.

As shootings have yet to go down in Durham, Sipes said the community needs to support more aggressive policing and let criminals know they can’t get away with crimes.

“If the Durham Police Department continues to get the support that it needs, if they’re going after people with guns, if they’re going after gang members, it will tip the scale eventually,” Sipes said. “As long as these people are being prosecuted, as long as these people are being incarcerated, it will tip the scale.”

The Durham County Sheriff’s Office is asking that if anyone has any information about any of the recent gun violence or other criminal activity, contact their tip line at 919-560-7151.

CBS 17 reached out to the Durham Police Department for a comment on this year’s gun seizures, but we have not heard back.

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