Reporting Meghan McCorkell
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A spike in violence causes the city to surpass last year’s murder rate and there’s still a month to go in 2012. That’s led to growing concerns, particularly in one neighborhood where five people have been shot in the past 24 hours.
Meghan McCorkell has more on this violent streak.
Since last week, there’s been two triple shootings and four double shootings in the city. Police say a big part of it is gang violence.
Two men were shot as gunfire rang out in the Harwood community. It’s an all too familiar sound; just hours before on Tuesday night, a running gun battle left 16-year-old Daniel Pearson dead and two other men shot.
“I knew I was shot because my leg ain’t feel right. I knew I had been shot, and I kept running. I don’t know if they were still shooting at me,” one of the victims said.
The spike in violence citywide has pushed the number of murders to 198, with a month to go in 2012. That’s up from 197 last year. In 2010, 219 people were murdered in the city.
“This year’s homicide numbers, they’re tragic,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
Commissioner Anthony Batts, who was on the scene in Harwood, says the shootings are part of a turf war between rival gangs.
Community leaders say neighbors have been voicing their concerns about a growing gang and drug problem for years.
“I think they’ve been concerned for years. I don’t think this is a new concern,” said Diana Mitchell.
Mitchell is with the Charles Village Benefits District, which includes Harwood. She says the police and community need to work together.
“So that we can start tackling drugs. We can start dealing with some of the dealers that are in this neighborhood and push them out,” Mitchell said.
Meanwhile, police are reviewing footage from a crime camera right near the shootings, hoping it leads to arrests.
Police plan to increase foot patrols throughout the city starting this weekend.
Last year was the first time since the 1970s that the murder rate in Baltimore City dipped below 200.