Baltimore’s homicide increase in 2009 from 234 to 238 victims put it virtually alone among other large cities as homicides continued to fall across the U.S., says the Baltimore Sun. The city did see a sharp drop in nonfatal shootings. All told, about 130 fewer people were shot compared with 2008. Police say the decline in shootings is part of a trend that saw total gun crime drop by 16 percent, including aggravated assaults involving guns, street robberies, and carjackings. More than 2,600 guns were taken off the streets by city police, with 1,100 people arrested on gun charges.
Amid shrinking public safety budgets and a severe economic recession that some experts predicted would spur a jump in crime, other large cities battling high homicide rates – including Washington, St. Louis, Philadelphia, and Oakland, Ca. – saw measurable drops. New York was poised to record its lowest total in history, while New Orleans, the city with the top per-capita homicide rate, saw a modest reduction.