Baltimore set a new record for homicides and critics blamed the police.
Baltimore, MD – When three people were shot and killed in the two days after Christmas, the city of Baltimore set a new record for per capita killings, with 343 homicides in 2017.
Over 1,000 people were shot in 2017.
The city of Baltimore broke its previous record despite the state of Maryland having an “assault weapons” ban, a “high capacity” magazine ban, and a handgun purchaser fingerprint requirement.
Some police critics blamed the fallout from the Freddie Gray riots for the increase in murders in the city, and said police aren’t actively enforcing the laws the way they did before rioters burned parts of the city in the wake of Gray’s death in police custody.
“The conventional wisdom, or widely agreed upon speculation, suggests that the great increase in murders is happening partly because the police have withdrawn from aggressively addressing crime in the city’s many poor, crime-ridden neighborhoods,” said Donald Norris, professor emeritus of public policy at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, told ABC News.
However, the Baltimore police department should be staffed by 3,000 officers, and is operating on only 2,100. The city seems unable to find qualified people who want to be a cop in Baltimore.
The Baltimore Sun reported Friday that the homicide rate in Baltimore for 2017 is now 55.8 killings per 100,000 people.
Baltimore activists tried two “Nobody Kill Anybody” murder-free weekends in 2017, but couldn’t successfully complete them.
The first 72-hour ceasefire in August had a homicide within 40 hours. The second ceasefire in November had a homicide on the second day.
“Not only is it disheartening, it’s painful,” ABC News reported Mayor Catherine Pugh told The Associated Press during the final days of 2017, her first year in office.
“We are experiencing a new dimension of societal fracture in our city,” State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby said, according to The Baltimore Sun. “We have to come together to figure that out.”
The Baltimore Sun reported that the Maryland State Police required applicants for a concealed-carry permit show a documented threat or specific reason that they believed they need a permit to carry a gun outside the home.
Maryland State Sen. Wayne Norman, a Republican, said the killings in Baltimore were the ultimate justification for allowing more people to carry guns in public, according to the Baltimore Sun.
“I would suggest that’s a reason to have a permit,” Sen. Norman said during a hearing on legislation. “These are dangerous times, and this is a dangerous place.”