The Congregation at Duke University Chapel

Pacing the Porch


Pacing the Porch

A Response to Disconnected Youth in Durham’s Urban Core

Dad sitting on porch
presentation at Adult Forum by
James Stuit
Gang Reduction Manager, City/County of Durham
February 19, 2012

Luke 15:20 “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him.”


  1. Story – “what the judge said”
  2. Our Community and its Challenges
  3. Gang Reduction Strategy
  4. Story – “a tale of 2 Shawns”
  5. The five six safety nets
  6. Back to the porch

And the decision is . . .

__ found on Mangum St.

judge in court

Durham, North Carolina

Population = 228,350

Home of . . .

  • Research Triangle Park
  • NC Central
  • Duke University
  • Durham Bulls

~ 125 churches

aerial view over Bulls baseball park to downtown skyline

Durham Youth

39,643 youth age 6-17 currently living in Durham youth on playground

The harvest is plentiful . . .

Percentage Living Below Poverty Level

graph of 16% poverty rate in state, 19% in Durham

Households Living Below Poverty Level in Durham, NC 2010

graph of 57% single parent mother , 10% single parent father, 33% married couple

A higher than normal percentage of Durham youth are left unattended for 3 or more hours after school.

hanging out

students in school hallway

Approximately 450 students drop out of school each year in Durham. 150/year return to school and attain a GED. Therefore the number of adults with no diploma or GED grows by 300 a year in Durham.

Students with limited English proficiency have a graduation rate of only 33% in Durham (changing demographic).

dots on map showing locations of arrests

Juvenile Arrests 2008-2010 In Durham n = 2673

Juvenile Arrests in Durham 2008 - 2011

graph of 2008 = 1,116, 2009 = 799, 2010 = 757, 2011 = 570

Juvenile Arrests in Durham 2011

graph of unarmed theft = 42%, other = 31%, unarmed assault = 17%, drug = 9%

Juvenile Weapons Arrests in Durham 2011 (n=46)

8.1% of Total Juvenile arrests (n=570)

graph of armed robbery = 17, armed assault = 16, concealed weapon = 10, weapon on campus = 3

Many Durham youth experience predictive factors for entering the juvenile justice system and/or gang involvement

  • Reside in an area with high crime concentration
  • Disconnection from school
  • Poor relationships with family
youth wearing what might be interpreted as gang colors

Court Involved Youth Who Claim Gang Membership or Association

graph of 2009-2010 7% in NC, 16% in Durham, 2010-2011 6% in NC, 20% in Durham

Gang Reduction Strategy Steering Committee Members

  • Tom Bonfield
  • Mike Ruffin
  • Bill Bell
  • Michael Page
  • Jose Lopez
  • Mike Andrews
  • Dallas Parks
  • Tracey Cline
  • Newman Aguiar
  • Ripley Rand
  • Barker French
  • Phail Wynn
  • Eric Becoats
  • Casey Steinbacher
  • Minnie Forte-Brown
  • Pilar Rocha-Goldberg
  • Judge Marcia Morey
  • Kathy Shuart
  • Kevin Rome
  • Ann Oshel

flowchart from problem acknowledgment to management strategy

1. Organizational Change and development

logos of Durham Housing Authority and Durham Public Schools

Policies and procedures that best address the gang/youth crime problem . . .

2. Community mobilization

photo of community meeting

Involvement of local citizens, community groups and agencies . . .

3. Social Intervention

logos of P.R.O.U.D. and Project B.U.I.L.D. (Building Uplifting & Impacting Lives Daily

Reaching out to gang-involved youth and their families . . .

Service duplication Service coordination

4. Opportunities provision

photo of a job fair and logo of Youth Employed & Succeeding

Education, training and employment programs . . .

5. suppression

photo of someone under arrest, and photo of probation officer

Social control procedures . . .

What kind of problems do gangs cause?

What kind of problems cause gangs?

A Community Response is needed to address issues of disconnected youth in Durham

Our Faith Community Partners are an important part of this response

linkages between at-risk youth, social services, foster care contractor, schools, courts, etc.

A Tale of 2 Shawns

silhouette photos of two young men

Shawn #1 . . .

silhouette photo of young man
  • Lives with mom and 4 younger sibs
  • Dad is incarcerated
  • Witnessed domestic violence
  • Suspended from school for fighting
  • Has been approached by guys on the block to hang out with them and smoke pot

Shawn #2 . . .

silhouette photo of young man
  • Lives with parents and 1 sister
  • Parents both work
  • Has a nice car and a Wii system
  • On the honor role at school
  • Is looking for excitement and acceptance and has experimented with cocaine

A Series of Safety Nets
1. family

photo of adult and young man

Family is constantly being redefined, but it remains . .

"a primary social group consisting of parents and their offspring, the principal function of which is provision for its members” (Mr. Webster) photo of family around dinner table

A Series of Safety Nets
2. neighbor/neighborhood

Q. Who is my neighbor?

A. See Luke 10:29-37

photo or two people raking leaves together

Neighborhood – Social Definition

"a community consisting of the sum of all of its parts” photo of jigsaw puzzle pieces

A Series of Safety Nets
3. faith community

photo of youth group
map showing a church within ~ 3 blocks of any location in NE central Durham

We’ll send a team to Haiti . . .

map showing Haiti, Cuba, etc.

But will we cross Angier Avenue to visit Shawn and his family?

photo of house

A Series of Safety Nets
4. school

photo teacher with students

A Series of Safety Nets
5. social services

logos of Durham Social Services, Foster Care Closet

"an anonymous public, supporting anonymous machinery, supporting anonymous clients”
The Tragedy of American Compassion, Marvin Olasky (1992)

linkages between at-risk youth, social services, foster care contractor, schools, courts, etc.

If all else fails, a Safety Net for society

photo of handcuffed individual

Back to the front porch . . .

How can the Congregation at Duke “pace the porch”?

photo of Duke Chapel

photo of sign