Why Isn’t Baltimore Murder Total Falling Faster?


Last weekend, 15 people were shot in Baltimore, three of them fatally, says the Baltimore Sun. Police consider a shooting in which the victim survived to be nothing more than a homicide that failed, and they say reductions in this category proves they are making strides in curbing violence. Nonfatal shootings in Baltimore are down 26 percent this year compared with last.

A persistent question is why the city’s homicide count hasn’t dropped at the same pace. While nonfatal shootings have fallen about 60 percent between 1996 and 2008, homicides have gone down about 34 percent over about the same period. Said Daniel Webster of the Johns Hopkins University Center for Gun Policy and Research,. “It’s not that they’re completely unrelated, but something is going on that is affecting one that is not affecting the other.” Crime reduction programs have reached some offenders and driven down violence. But killings persist, Webster said, in some cities where many hard-core criminals remain unafraid of police and uninfluenced by reform attempts.

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