Baltimoreans Fear City is Getting Used to Violence

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Two years into a historic spike in Baltimore’s violence, this year is on pace to be the city’s deadliest year ever, reports the Baltimore Sun. The newspaper reached out to more than two dozen people who live and work in the city, including community members, business executives, faith leaders, elected officials, police officers and others. Many said they see the city in crisis, with no clear path forward. Some worry that a kind of fatigue has set in. With the failure of efforts to stem the killing, they fear the city is growing used to it.

Ericka Alston-Buck works with children at the Kids Safe Zone, the nonprofit she founded in West Baltimore, and says children in the city are becoming inured to the gunfire. “They are so numb. This is so normal. That is why it continues,” she said. “You’ll hear a 6-year-old say, ‘So-and-so got shot.’ That’s normal. They’ll hear gunshots and say, ‘Someone’s shooting,’ but they’re not ducking for cover. It’s normal.” Baltimore recorded 146 homicides through May, a record for the city. The death toll is up 32 percent over the same period last year, and nearly 85 percent over 2014. The city blew past the previous five-month high of 139 homicides in 1993. In absolute numbers, Baltimore trailed only Chicago in homicides through May. Chicago had 240, but it’s five times larger than Baltimore. Per capita, Baltimore is deadlier. City Councilman Brandon Scott says Mayor Catherine Pugh’s administration needs a new plan. “Clearly, what they’re doing isn’t working,” Scott said. “Clearly, there needs to be adjustments to the strategy both short-term and long-term. It needs to be a clear and concise plan with accountability measures, and I simply don’t see that being in place right now.”

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