This past weekend, Baltimore recorded its 234rd homicide, the most in four years. Nonfatal shootings rose after six years of decline. Amid the spike — which comes as many other cities have seen homicides drop — officials are searching for solutions, reports the Baltimore Sun. “We’re still a much too violent city,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said. “When you have a homicide rate that is persistently high, it casts a shadow over other progress.” This coming year is pivotal. It will mark the second full year for Police Commissioner Anthony Batts, who has presented a strategic plan for fighting crime and is working to implement changes. State’s Attorney Gregg Bernstein, who faces at least two challengers in a bid for a second term.
Batts said his department “is not bringing communities the policing that they want and we are going to change that.” He said the agency was “stepping out of the dark ages of technology” and would seek to do more predictive policing and better line up resources with crime patterns. Elsewhere, cities known for similar rates of deadly violence were seeing notable decreases: Homicides were down 25 percent in Oakland, by more than 20 percent in New Orleans and by 17 percent in Detroit. Chicago, regularly in the national headlines as the most violent large city, saw a 19 percent decline. Baltimore had nearly as many gun homicides as New York City, where the population is 13 times larger.