Baltimore City slid further into chaos and just broke its highest ever per-capita homicide rate after recording its 347th murder on Monday.
With about 602,000 residents, Baltimore City’s homicide rate breached 57 per 100,000 residents after 13 people have been murdered since Dec. 21.
The annual death toll has only hit 342 on two other occasions, onetime in 2017 and another in 2015. Breaching the 342 level to 347 is uncharted territory and suggests the situation will get worse in 2019.
This is the 5th year the city has recorded murders over 300, due mostly to the Ferguson effect post-2015 riots and socio-economic deterioration in the town.
The highest ever per-capita homicide rate and an out of control opioid epidemic comes as the total population in the city crashes to a 100-year low, many are fleeing the city for the suburbs as the local economy continues to dive deeper into a depression, never recovered since 2008.
Baltimore City Mayor Bernard “Jack” Young held an end-of-year news conference on public safety Monday. Young said, “Our residents deserve to live without the fear of violence and it is my obligation and duty to leverage every resource and tool available to stop the cycle of violence that is crippling our city.”
He added, “We cannot stop violent crime through policing alone. We must use both community-based interventions and an integrated crime-fighting strategy.”
Young also wrote an op-ed in The Baltimore Sun on Tuesday about his new strategy to turn Baltimore City around will focus on identifying and charging gun crimes and holding weekly case reviews with the police department and the State’s Attorney’s Office.
Baltimore City Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said the number of people killed in the city this year is “deeply disturbing.”
“That level of violence simply cannot be tolerated in a civil society, much less in a great city like Baltimore,” Harrison said.
He said the department would start treating the “actual disease” of violence, instead of what he characterized as the symptoms.
“[W]hen we only treat symptoms and never deal with root cause issues, violence, like a disease, builds resistance. It gets stronger and becomes more difficult to eradicate,” Harrison said.
With no signs of abating, the murder crisis in Baltimore City will likely get worse.
Please do yourself a favor in 2020 and avoid traveling to the city considering its per capita homicide rate is one of the highest in the country.