Durham residents question effectiveness of anti-violence group ahead of vote on new $6m HQ :: WRAL.com

Bull City United started at Durham in 2016.

The group includes former gang members. The idea is that they can connect with people involved in violence and show them a better way.

Robert Belcher worked for the group from 2019 to 2021. He said despite getting millions of dollars from the city and county, it’s inefficient.

“The murder rate has gone up. The shooting rates have gone up,” Belcher said. “I don’t understand why they would put more money into something, just to see more people die.”

Belcher argued that the county shouldn’t spend six million dollars on a new building for the group when they already have two — and no one is ever there.

In the middle of the day, WRAL News visited the two and no one responded.

WRAL News asked the county for statistics showing the group’s success.

They sent data from last year and early this year, which doesn’t tell a clear story.

Violent incidents were up in some parts of the city, down in others.

A Durham Police officer told WRAL News from what they saw the group is not having an impact in Durham

The agent believes that buying the new headquarters would be a waste of taxpayers’ money.

“It’s a slap in the face for their constituents,” the officer said. “The six million dollars could be better spent on something like a youth center.”

WRAL News contacted every county commissioner, none would do an interview.

We have also reached out directly to County and Bull City United members to try to hear their views. We have not received a response.

Sara H. Byrd