“Operation Bull’s Eye” reduces crime in NECD

By Briana Aguilar

NCCU Staff Writer

the Durham VOICE

Two years ago the Durham Police Department created “Operation Bull’s Eye” with money from a federal grant that allowed them to pay officers to work overtime in Northeast Central Durham. District One, Four, and Five police officers work to keep drugs, violent crimes, and prostitution off the streets and to help residents feel safe in their own neighborhoods.


Neighborhoods like these have been a chronic problem for Northeast Central Durham. But City officials point to a positive turnaround in recent weeks. (Photo by Jock Lauterer)

Since 2007, “Operation Bull’s Eye” has reduced crime within the community drastically. Crime was down 28 percent from the previous year in 2008 and 11 percent for 2009.

“Every day starts the same, but only God knows how the day will end,” said Officer Cornell Richards. Richards works Bull’s Eye about two times a month, but patrols around NECD about fourteen days a month.

A typical evening shift patrolling Bull’s Eye begins at 8 p.m. and ends at 2 a.m. Officers patrol intersections where crime has occurred in the past.

While ten officers usually patrol NECD, four to five additional officers work exclusively in the Bull’s Eye and are asked not to answer 911 calls. They strictly focus on what’s going on in the community by talking to residents, listening to their concerns and keeping an eye out for suspicious activity or people walking around the neighborhoods.

“Not being tied to the radio really makes a difference,” says Richards. “It gives us an opportunity to really get out in the community.”

Captain Winslow Forbes, who is committed to improving the conditions of NECD by patrolling Bull’s Eye on a daily basis says, “I might be out there for three to four hours or fifteen to twenty minutes – depends if there has been a lot of crime activity,”

In order to restore NECD neighborhoods, residents should report suspicious activity. “I’ve had citizens call me directly,” says Forbes. Residents can call Crime Stoppers at 919-683-1200 if they want to report activity or tips anonymously.

“When crime and violence become a norm, people become complacent, and once residents take ownership, things will start to get better,” says Richards.

The police recognize that when residents cooperate with the police, it makes cleaning up the neighborhood easier.

Without the help of the residents, it would be hard for police to identify suspects and get them off the streets. Officers make their presence known by patrolling hot spots in marked vehicles, hopefully shutting down any kind of legal activity.

Officers point to the numbers to show the success of “Operation Bull’s Eye”. In 2008, an undercover operation netted 30 arrests. “I’d call those results,” says Richards.