Baltimore is ranked among the U.S. cities with the highest homicide rate. In 2015, the city saw its homicide rate scale up to 344, which made it a historical year with the most homicides per-capita. Unfortunately, 2016 wasn’t much better with 318 homicides.
Things are looking pretty grim for the city, with a count of 71 homicides in the first 79 days of 2017, as of Monday. Zero homicides were recorded during the first week of March, but 11 were recorded las week.
Police said, on Saturday, a firebombing in an East Baltimore home claimed the lives of Tyrone James, 17 and Shi-Heem Sholto, 19. On Saturday night, the body of Dashon Houton, 26, a fatal shooting victim, was found on the Alameda in Northeast Baltimore.
On Wednesday, a fatal shooting was logged in West Baltimore, the victim, Montell “Telly Pridgett, 24, a local boxer. On Thursday, Markell Scott, 19, was the victim of a fatal shooting in East Baltimore.
On Tuesday, Davon Fair, 24, was shot after “an attempted robbery went bad,” in Northeast Baltimore. Fair was taken to the hospital, but subcommed to his injuries on Friday. The fatal shooting in Southwest Baltimore on Friday claimed the life of Donya Rigby, 28. The suspest in Rigby’s killing, Aaron Daniels, 24, was later arrested by police.
On Tuesday, two fatal stabbing victims, Earline Thomas, 53, and Howard Martin, 53, were discovered in their home in North Baltimore. According to police, the victims had been “dead for a while.”
A spokesman for the Baltimore police, T.J. Smith, said in the past week, the city has seen “some absolutely tragic cases.” He blamed the voilence on a rnage of factors, but the one that stood out the most was the recent move to stop using plainclothes officers in violent neighborhoods.
“We don’t think any of these situations were due to any deployment issues,” Smith said. “The fact of the matter is there are actually more officers in uniform on the street, and there is a different level of omnipresence than existed when officers were in plainclothes.”
The decision came after seven plainclothes officers were indicted on federal racketeering charges. The charges stem from allegations of filing false court paperwork, shaking down residents and committing overtime fraud. All seven officers pleaded not guilty to the charges.
According to police officials, the federal indictment has caused the department to exceed its overtime budget. Filling patrol shifts has also been a struggle.
The city also got off on a bad start this week. Police were called to the scene of a crime early Monday in West Baltimore. A 23-year-old man was shot in his vehicle. A 41-year-old man and 13-year-old boy were shot on Friday in Southwest Baltimore.