Summer is over and autumn has begun, so we should check in and see if things have calmed down in Baltimore. The city has been experiencing near record levels of murders, non-fatal shootings and assaults ever since they finished putting out the fires after the Freddie Gray riots. But surely enough time has passed for things to calm down by now, right?
Well.. not as such. (Fox News)
Baltimore’s bloody summer ended with a barrage of bangs, as the rate of homicides and gun crimes continued to spike in the wake of the racially charged case of Freddie Gray, whose death in police custody left citizens angry and cops demoralized.
For September, homicides were up 39 percent and non-fatal shootings nearly doubled over the same month in 2014, continuing a disturbing trend that has gripped the Charm City since Gray’s death in April and the rioting that followed. For the year, murders are up 52 percent and non-fatal shootings 80 percent over last year.
“We have highly motivated bad guys in Baltimore,” Baltimore police spokesman T.J. Smith told FoxNews.com.
Normally you’d find the phrase “highly motivated” on your performance review at work if you were about to get a big raise, but I suppose it applies here as well. The criminals have been on a spree and are racking up bonus points in the murder department. None of this is helped by the fact that police morale seems to still be in the dumps as the trials of the cops in the Gray case move forward and City Hall remains largely unsupportive of the force when you ask the cops off the record.
That’s one fine set of accomplishments for Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. She recently announced that she wasn’t going to be running for another term, but that news obviously isn’t doing anything to help matters out in the streets, either. Oddly enough, though, neither the crime ridden and rather flammable nature of her city nor the historic crime rates seem to have caught the attention of the U.S. Council of Mayors, who held their fall meeting in Baltimore this past weekend with Rawlings-Blake as the host. The agenda must have seemed a bit embarrassing all things considered.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, president of the conference, will lead discussions that also will include economic development, community policing and the spike in homicides many cities saw over the summer. The group will meet at the Hilton Hotel from Friday to Sunday.
Jerry Abramson, director of intergovernmental affairs for the White House, and Ron Davis, director of the U.S. Department of Justice’s community-oriented policing services, will offer remarks at the meeting.
If you’re going to get all of the mayors together to talk about “economic development, community policing and a spike in homicides” this year, wouldn’t you consider doing it someplace where mayors are actually solving those problems? You know… so the rest of them could pick up some tips? Baltimore’s unemployment rate overall is 7.4% (which is high enough to begin with) but for the largely young, black male population of the city it’s sitting at 37%. That’s not exactly a model for economic development. And community policing? Perhaps the less said about that the better.
Rawlings-Blake has been a disaster for the city essentially since day one and her mishandling of the explosive situation which followed Freddie Gray’s arrest and subsequent death has turned the place into a dangerous, pathetic mess. Unfortunately there isn’t much hope that she will be replaced by anyone better so Charm City’s residents had best get used to the new status quo.