One year after one of Baltimore’s most violent summers, July opened with one of the lowest midyear homicide counts in three decades, reports the Baltimore Sun. Killings declined in the first half of 2014 to 97, compared with 115 during the first half of last year, when police worked to quell violence as 40 people were shot in a span of two weeks, including 20 over a single weekend. This year’s pace puts it on track with a multiyear decline that ended in 2012.
While Baltimore remains one of the most violent major U.S. cities (a toddler was killed early yesterday), police officials have credited several initiatives with helping to reduce homicides, including more patrols in violent areas. “The credit goes to the commanders and the officers that are out on the street every day working to reduce crime across the city,” said Lt. Eric Kowalczyk, a police spokesman. The dip in killings doesn’t obscure the reality of Baltimore’s struggles with violent crime compared to other cities. Washington has seen a rise in homicides this year but still has recorded just over 60 killings. Philadelphia, a city three times the size of Baltimore, has recorded 115 homicides.