It’s been a banner year in Charm City… provided you happen to own a funeral home. Just as we are being assured that crime is coming under control (which it is in many areas outside of the inner cities) the citizens of Baltimore report that they’ve broken the all time per capita murder record for a single year. And the telling part of the statistic is that they managed the feat almost entirely after the Freddie Gray riots. (Baltimore Sun)
Blood was shed in Baltimore at an unprecedented pace in 2015, with mostly young, black men shot to death in a near-daily crush of violence.
On a per-capita basis, the year was the deadliest ever in the city. The year’s tally of 344 homicides was second only to the record 353 in 1993, when Baltimore had about 100,000 more residents.
The killings were on pace with recent years in the early months of 2015 but skyrocketed after the unrest and rioting of late April. In five of the next eight months, killings topped 30 or 40 a month.
There is some literal gallows humor in the fact that the Baltimore Sun reports that the record murder rate has led to “renewing calls for new gun laws.” (Roughly 90% of the killings were done with firearms, which won’t come as much of a shock.) I’m not sure if any of the residents have been following the election news for the past couple of months, but their former mayor and governor has been running a campaign based largely on his success in passing some of the most restrictive gun laws in the nation in their fair city. Also of note is that fact that this dubious honor was only the per capita record because Baltimore has been bleeding citizens for two decades and the population has plunged in the six figure range. It’s simply not a safe place for law abiding citizens to live.
Perhaps someone could ask Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake what she thinks of the current state of gun laws. Or possibly the better question would be to ask her latest Chief of Police how many of the guns they’ve managed to confiscate from the killers they’ve brought to justice were purchased legally. I can tell you that the FBI already has a pretty good idea and on a good day it might be between six and eight percent of them. The rest were stolen or purchased on the black market by people who don’t go through background checks or stand on line at a sporting goods store to make sure that they’re law abiding citizens.
Meanwhile, Baltimore’s cops have continued to adopt an unofficial “stand back and let it all be” attitude in some sketchy situations, at least until they see what happens to their fellow officers currently facing a series of trials down at the courthouse. Yes, yes… I know. You’re going to remind me that the Ferguson Effect isn’t real and it’s all in my evil little mind, right? Tell that to Baltimore. City Hall has taken a get tough approach to law enforcement, but they decided to target the cops instead of the gangs. The results are on display with this sad milestone.