After Baltimore police officers seized 53 guns in one week, a top police commander said the department would “reaffirm” its commitment to pulling illegal weapons off the streets and work to ensure that repeat offenders are held on high bails after their arrests, says the Baltimore Sun. Shootings and homicides have continued at the same high pace as last year, though violent crime overall is down 18 percent. Baltimore has had 48 homicides this year, a per-capita rate that far exceeds that of other more-populous cities, such as New York and Philadelphia.
Police — from SWAT team members to drug enforcement detectives to patrol officers — are being told to focus on seizing guns. Deputy Police Commissioner Frederick Bealefeld said police have seized about 100 fewer guns this year than last year at this time. Daniel Webster of Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Gun Policy and Research said that law enforcement’s focus on offenders who are most likely to commit violent crimes is good, but research shows that “place-based” enforcement, where police focus on neighborhoods, often yields better results. “A lot of offending goes beyond these guys with particularly long rap sheets, and there are things a police department can do to send the message that [if] anyone out there is carrying an illegal gun, you’re at risk,” Webster said.