The first four months of 2017 for Baltimore will be known for the city’s highest murder rate, per capita, in recorded history. Last week, Mayor Catherine Pugh pleaded with feds to provide assistance to help curb the city’s increasing crime rate, including carjackings, robberies and shootings. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have agreed to provide city officials with the assistant needed to solve gun crimes.
On Tuesday, the agency began utilizing its gun-tracing van on the streets of Baltimore. Gun-tracing technology is combined with its associated national database to solve and prevent gun violence. The van will be available in the city periodically throughout the spring and summer season.
The AFT Baltimore Field Division special agent, Daniel L. Board Jr., said the van would be “a tremendous asset to Baltimore, by supporting a timely and comprehensive collection of firearm-related evidence at crime scenes, which in turn will help us reduce and prevent violent crime.”
A total of 108 homicides have been recorded in Baltimore so far this year. Five people were killed just this past weekend. In 1993, 110 homicides were recorded through the end of April, which is the only time that the city saw this many homicides at this point in the year. The same year, a total of 353 homicides were recorded, the highest in Baltimore’s history.
Baltimore’s population has dropped by 110,000, since 1993. So far this year, the city’s crime rate has increased by 23 percent, along with robberies, homicides and shootings, which have increased by double-digit percentages.
“We’re grateful to the federal intervention in the city of Baltimore,” Pugh said. “We are looking for all the help we can get. Murder is out of control. There are too many guns on the streets.”
Former mayors and business leaders are calling on city officials to show more urgency in fighting crime. Former governor and mayor Martin O’Malley’s recent blog read, “sadly, my own hometown of Baltimore chose to forget a lot of hard-earned lessons learned about crime reduction.”
O’Malley had a “zero tolerance” policy when it came to crime, even though the policy was blamed for harming the relationship between the police and the community. During O’Malley’s tenure, homicide and other crimes declined.