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Baltimore May See Lowest Homicide Rate In 20 Years

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McCorkel Meghan 370x278 (2) Meghan McCorkell
Meghan McCorkell joined the Eyewitness News team in July 2011 as a...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The city of Baltimore is on track for a major milestone: the lowest homicide rate in 20 years! It’s a big accomplishment for law enforcement, who vowed to make city streets safer.

Meghan McCorkell has more on the latest numbers.

This year, 195 people have been murdered in the streets of Baltimore this year. If that number holds, it would be the first time the city has had fewer than 200 homicides since the 1980s.

On Christmas Eve, Cherry Hill was the site of Baltimore’s 195th homicide. Detectives are still tracking down who killed a man in a front yard, but this year, investigators aren’t stretched as thin.

With days to go, less than 200 people have been killed in 2011. That’s a drop from 219 this time last year and a far cry from the 353 murders in 1993. Since 2007, the murder rate has fallen in Baltimore.

Last month, Police Commissioner Fred Bealefeld said more work still needs to be done.

“The goal is beyond the numbers, because here’s what we know. While the numbers have come down over the last four years, it hasn’t changed people’s perceptions,” Bealefeld said.

But criminologists credit better policing for a drop in crime nationally.

“They’re using technology, they’re using data, crime patterns, maps to figure out where are the hot spots, what’s the trend in terms of crime?” said criminologist James Alan Fox.

The state’s attorney’s office is also sending a message, coming down hard on repeat offenders like the man who murdered a Johns Hopkins researcher in Charles Village. John Wagner is now serving a life sentence for killing Stephen Pitcairn.

“I want to thank them for their cooperation and their help in prosecuting Mr. Wagner, who in many ways is the poster child for the type of offenders that my office is committed to prosecuting,” said City State’s Attorney Gregg Bernstein.

The number of non-fatal shootings has been cut in half in Baltimore since 2000 and juvenile homicides are at their lowest rate in 30 years.

Nationally, the number of murders, rapes, robberies and assaults are all falling, according to the FBI.

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