Baltimore Seeks to ‘Reimagine Public Safety’ as Murders Near 300

Print More

The grim benchmark has been arriving each year around this time. For the sixth straight year, Baltimore is on pace to record at least 300 homicides, leaving the city’s political, civic and law enforcement leaders again searching for ways to reduce the rate of violence, which not even a pandemic could stop, reports the Baltimore Sun. Baltimore has recorded 296 homicides, a rate of just under a homicide per day with 42 days left in 2020. The pace of homicides is slightly improved over last year but still far higher than a decade ago. Nonfatal shootings are down from last year, part of an overall drop in crime in most categories. Baltimore City Council President and Mayor-elect Brandon Scott said the city has neglected underlying problems affecting crime rates. His goal is to expand city services outside law enforcement, offering more comprehensive services to inmates leaving prisons and addressing confrontations before they become violent. “There isn’t one cause, and there isn’t one solution,” Scott said. “We’re talking about a complete re-imagining of public safety.”

There have been some bright spots, police said, pointing to an increase in arrests and the rate of solving homicides and shootings. Some 115 people have been arrested on homicide charges and 130 for nonfatal shootings. During the same period last year, the department had made 104 homicide arrests. The police department has a 41 percent clearance rate, up from 32 percent last year; both are under the national average of 57 percent. The modest improvement doesn’t alleviate the need for a change in strategy, local leaders said. While activists have called for a radical restructuring of police, Scott’s goal is to work with Police Commissioner Michael Harrison to focus on repeat violent offenders and on adding community foot patrols. He added that plans to tackle crime “must include police, but it is not solely their responsibility.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *