The 2015-year ended with 344 homicides, the highest in in seven years, with mostly young, black male victims. According to reports released by Wall Street Journal, felony conviction rates in Baltimore dropped after Marilyn Mosby took over for Gregg Berstein, who severed as the city’s top prosecutor from 2011 through 2014. What’s strange about the lower rate is it comes at a time when violent crime is at its highest.
Baltimore population of 620,000 is much lower than that of Chicago’s 2,720,546 (2016). Chicago’s homicide rate topped 700, with 20 days still remaining in 2016.
The city police set up a 24-hour command center and steel barricades at the entrance of the 900 block of Bennett Place in West Baltimore three years ago. Just this week, three gunshot fatalities were reported on the same block in one night. The city police department did not respond in the same manner as the 2013 incident, no mobile command center or steel barricades were put in place.
After the death of Freddie Gray, the homicide rate started spiking. Residents continue to struggle to find solace during these troubled times. Councilwoman Sharon Green Middleton told Baltimore Sun that it would take more than law enforcement to curb crime, but would take efforts of crime watch groups and neighborhood associations.
Many are blaming the crime wave on weakened relationships between police and the community. According to professor of sociology and education at the Johns Hopkins University, Stephen L. Morgan, who has studied the city’s crime levels over the past two years, shootings were up 90 percent, carjacking up 213 percent and homicides up 40 percent, when comparing a 12-month period beginning in the fall of 2015.
Dallas, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Boston have also seen a surge in homicides this year. Kevin Davis, Baltimore Police Commissioner pointed to illegal guns and how easy they were to obtain. Over the past two years more guns annually were seized, without having an effect on gun deaths and injuries.