Reporting Meghan McCorkell
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Police launch a massive effort to clear the streets, tripling their presence across the city this weekend.
They hope the show of force will stop the gunshots ringing out night after night.
Meghan McCorkell has more on the steps being taken.
Thirty-five people have been shot in Baltimore City in just one week–14 of them killed. Now police are making moves to take back the streets.
Balloons and melted candles–all left behind after a man was gunned down on Bennett Place. Just down the street, police make their presence known.
Nearly triple the number of officers are deployed in hot spots this weekend. State and transit police, as well as the sheriff’s office, will also patrol city streets.
Friday night on North Avenue, it was neighbors hitting the streets.
“We’re not going to let it continue where grandmas can’t sit on their corner. It’s not okay with me that my child can walk to the street and play and the children in these neighborhoods have to fear bullets,” said Jasina Wise, Walking for Peace.
“There are people that want this city to be a great place to live again and not known for the crime,” Jane Talley, Life Source International Church.
Hundreds marched–calling for peace after this violent week.
“Right now, we’re at a critical juncture where it is critically important for us to come together as a community,” said Nick Mosby, Baltimore City Council.
The “Enough is Enough” peace walks have been taking place in west Baltimore for the past 12 weeks. Officials hope it spreads to other parts of the city.
The people here–walking to send a message.
“For those that don’t want to do right in this city, that this is our city. It belongs to the good people of our city. You want to do wrong? You want to tear up this city? We’re coming after you,” said Lt. Col. Melvin Ruseell, Baltimore City Police.
Police say walks like this are making it clear–the community won’t stand for violence.
Police plan to keep up their stepped up enforcement through the July Fourth weekend.
The “Bless Baltimore Prayer Motorcade” will hold peace rallies across the city Saturday starting at 9 a.m. at police headquarters.
The bloodshed keeps getting worse: 35 people have been shot, 14 killed in just one week in Baltimore City.
Is the recent crackdown on a violent gang at the City Detention Center behind some of the bloodshed?
Mike Hellgren takes a closer look.
The commissioner says there was a connection between the crackdown and some of the recent spike in crime, but did not elaborate.
One thing he did elaborate on is what you can expect to see this weekend. And that’s a lot more officers on patrol, particularly in hot spot areas and Downtown.
One week after a wave of violence first hit Baltimore, it shows no signs of letting up.
At least 35 people have been shot, and Monique Green, a mother living in a violent part of east Baltimore, feels trapped.
“It’s just like people are dropping like flies and nobody’s doing anything,” Green said.
On WYPR’s “Midday,” the police commissioner said some of the violence may be linked to the crackdown on the Black Guerrilla Family gang at the City Detention Center, where kingpins had been using cell phones to run their drug business.
“We believe there’s a connection that’s spilling onto the street, and we have to validate that, but that’s what I’m hearing on the front end,” said Commissioner Anthony Batts, Baltimore City Police.
On North Kenwood Avenue, where several people were shot, there’s been a lot of gang tension. The commissioner says tThe Black Guerrilla Family controls one block while the Bloods control the other.
“Our criminals on the streets are more willing to take a charge for murder in the city of Baltimore because they think they can get off by our juries,” said Batts.
Homicides you don’t get a do over. We have to get this right. We are putting more resources on the street,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
The commissioner said he’s doubling Downtown patrols this weekend.
“We have already blocked off all time-off for the entire agency,” he said.
Hellgren: “Do you have confidence in the police commissioner and the job he’s doing?”
Green: “Yeah, I have confidence. But the people are the ones who need to change. The commissioner can only do but so much. I would love to be able to do better and not have my kids in a neighborhood that’s riddled with drugs and violence. We need to do better.”
The commissioner says there is a great need to stem the tide of illegal guns in Baltimore City.