Detectives define a shooting as an unsuccessful homicide, says Baltimore Sun columnist Peter Hermann. If that’s true, the Baltimore Police Department needs to start worrying, if City Hall wants to end the year with the lowest number of slayings since the mid-1980s. Shootings are down, but not as much now as they were a few months ago. As of two weeks ago, the latest firm numbers available, shootings were down just 16 percent compared with last year. That’s without factoring in the latest violence, which includes a spurt of shootings in that cost a commander his job or Tuesday night’s drive-by that left five people wounded and one person dead.
The gap is closing for an administration number-conscious about crime. Describing one recent case in detail, Hermann quotes Mayor Sheila Dixon as talking about getting guns of the street and of young people outside late at night. She noted that one victim was 13. “I have a 13-year-old son. You know? So it affects me as a mom,” the mayor said. “Why wasn’t this person in their home?” Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III said the rise in shootings is a concern but that the numbers are not out of step with five-year averages. Speaking to a group of top criminal justice officials who meet monthly to coordinate strategy, said, “Gangs and drugs, gangs and drugs – nothing new to the people at this table.”