Baltimore ended 2019 with 348 homicides, according to data compiled by the Baltimore Sun. The year had already set a grim record of 57 killings per 100,000 people, the city’s worst homicide rate on record. Then killings went on for eight more days. Monday night, police found three men fatally shot in a North Baltimore rental house. A fourth man was wounded. On New Year’s Eve, police said a 25-year-old man who was shot Dec. 18 had died possibly the final homicide of 2019. The total homicide count is second only to 1993, when the city recorded 353 killings and had nearly 125,000 more people. December 2019 ended with 35 homicides.
Police commanders held news conferences on each of the last two days of the year to address the violence. Police Commissioner Michael Harrison pledged new efforts to catch killers. Democratic Mayor Bernard “Jack” Young urged citywide cooperation to bring peace. Police union leaders criticized the department’s efforts as ineffectual. With an unrelenting pace of homicides, detectives have struggled to arrest the killers. The department has cleared only 31 percent of homicides in 2019, one of the lowest rates in the last 30 years. Police officials confirmed one shooting on the last day of 2019: an 18-year-old man struck by gunfire around 7:10 p.m. in South Baltimore.