A surge in Baltimore weapon seizures has netted a total of 1,164 illegal firearms this year, says the Baltimore Sun. Meanwhile, the 99 people killed in the first six months of this year is the fewest over the same time frame in the past quarter-century. The 44 nonfatal shootings in June was the fewest for the month since the department started keeping track in the 1970s.
Maryland U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said his office successfully prosecuted 206 people on gun charges in 2009 and has already targeted 131 people this year. Defendants in the federal system typically get 10 to 30 years in a prison far away from Baltimore and with no chance to be released early on parole or probation. Police Commissioiner Frederick Bealefeld cited a gun registry, a list of 425 people who live in Baltimore and have been convicted of gun offenses.
Cops routinely knock on their doors, much as officers do to check up on registered sex offenders, “so that they know that we know who they are.” It’s a way of trying to keep track of guns that proliferate in some city neighborhoods. The idea is to not just arrest people and take their guns, but to find out where they got them and how they were going to be used. That kind of intelligence, Bealefeld stressed, has helped drive down the shooting and homicide numbers.