Baltimore was unable last year to sustain the significant milestone of the first drop below 200 homicides in a generation, but officials see reasons to remain optimistic that declines will resume. says the Baltimore Sun. The city recorded 217 killings, 10 percent more than last year’s 197, but still the second-lowest population-adjusted rate of killings since the late 1980s. Total crime and most categories of gun violence continued to decline.
More than 60 percent of those fatally shot died from being shot in the head, which points to a high number of execution-style killings. That’s the highest percentage in 10 years worth of police department data. Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said homicides were up largely because the city was the stage for two violent gang wars this year that were fueled by targeted attacks meant to kill, as opposed to unplanned bursts of gunfire that may leave victims wounded but alive. “Those gangs were shooting each other in the head. They were assassinating each other,” he said.