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Baltimore City Reaches Its 200th Murder So Far This Year

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Ritchie Rochelle 175x131 L Rochelle Ritchie
Rochelle Ritchie joined WJZ Eyewitness News in June 2012. Prio...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)— A troubling milestone for Baltimore City. A woman killed Thursday morning marks the 200th murder in Baltimore so far this year.

Rochelle Ritchie spoke with the police commissioner about the crime and what really needs to be done.

Despite a number of criminals being put behind bars and thousands of guns being taken off of the street, the murder rate in the city continues to go up just as suspects are arrested.

Davon Ferguson, 26, is under arrest for the murders of Karl and Kurt Berrain, shot execution style in Upper Fells Point. Police say Ferguson was upset because one of the Berrain brothers had spoken to his girlfriend.

His arrest comes just as Baltimore City reaches its 200th murder this year.

“These crimes are committed by people who shouldn’t have guns,” one man said.

Thursday morning, a woman died after being shot in 1500-block of W. Baltimore Street.

“When communities don’t feel safe, it bothers me,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. “It troubles me when children die in our street. It keeps me up at night.”

Thursday, the mayor, police commissioner and state’s attorney expressed their frustrations with the bloodbath on city streets.

“Two hundred is unacceptable. One is unacceptable. Five is unacceptable. Am I angry about it? I’m beyond angry about it,” said Anthony Batts, police commissioner.

Two hundred murders in a year is certainly horrific, but Baltimore City hasn’t seen much progress in murder rates in the last few years. In 2012, 217 people were killed. In 2011, the number of murders reached 198.

In response to the crime, Baltimore City Police increased its officers on the streets, and the mayor even hired two additional prosecutors to the state’s attorney’s office. So, why aren’t the numbers going down?

“I think that people do get frustrated when people are found not guilty of charges. I think that more importantly, I think that when there’s a delay in the case getting to trial, which we too often see, that’s where you start to run into problems,” said Gregg Bernstein, state’s attorney.

Commissioner Batts says in order to lock people up for good, the process of justice has to change.

“We should have mandatory sentences. One of the things that I’m [going to]  try to push at the state level is actually changing those laws,” Batts said.

The police commissioner went on to say that his department continues to change its strategy as criminals adapt to its operations.

It has been two years since Baltimore has had fewer than 200 murders.

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