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BALTIMORE (AP) — Baltimore’s new police commissioner is set to officially take over the force at a time when the city’s stubborn homicide rate is trending upward.

Anthony Batts will be sworn in Thursday by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. He was picked in August to take over for Frederick Bealefeld, who retired after 31 years with the city police.

Bealefeld oversaw reductions in violent crime, and last year marked the first time since the 1970s that the city recorded fewer than 200 homicides. Still, Baltimore remains one of the nation’s most violent cities.

This year, there have been 189 homicides, compared with 176 at this time last year. Batts is a former police chief of Long Beach and Oakland in California and has been a low-key leader so far as he evaluates the department.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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