As Baltimore struggles with a deadly start to 2017, the mayor and police commissioner called on help from the community, other city agencies, prosecutors, and even the president to help slow a pace of one homicide a day, the Baltimore Sun reports. Twenty-six people have been killed in the year’s first 25 days. Police Commissioner Kevin Davis tried to assure residents that the department is doing everything it can, allocating more officers to patrol and redeploying gang and other special units to areas of the city where violence is worst.
Shootings are up 44 percent compared with this time last year, while homicides are up 50 percent for the period. Carjackings, a major problem for police in 2016, are up more than 60 percent. There have been at least 39 reported carjackings in 2017. “This is not the new normal,” Davis said. “We continue to fight out of the place we’re in.” Mayor Catherine Pugh said the city’s violence problem extended beyond the Police Department’s control. She called on the black community to find solutions to the killings, the victims of which are overwhelmingly African American. “This is not about just policing,” Pugh said. “It’s about community. When you think about people walking into a barbershop and shooting people point-blank. … There’s something terribly wrong going on in our communities that people think it’s OK to pick up a gun, shoot people and kill people.”