BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The murder rate in Baltimore City has already reached an alarming high. In just two weeks, 14 people have been killed. The mayor and police commissioner are committed to curbing the violence and held another neighborhood walk-through to reach out to residents–but some question the motives behind it.
Rochelle Ritchie has more.
Some people call the mayor and police commissioner’s walk-throughs a PR stunt that puts no significant dent in the crime or fear in the criminals. But on the other side, you have those who say it helps to know their leaders care.
It was just after dark as Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Police Commissioner Anthony Batts gathered with an entourage of fellow officers, city leaders and media to walk the streets of Hugo and Harford Avenue, plagued with violent crimes.
“You have a lot of good neighbors that like to see us out here involved,” Batts said.
Fourteen people have been killed in Baltimore City since the beginning of the month. The numbers are concerning for those living steps away from the violence.
Another walk by city officials has some questioning if it’s doing any good or if it’s just another PR stunt.
“They want to make themselves look better so they can be voted or something for the next election,” said LaSean Ruffin.
The mayor and police commissioner were hit with that question.
“Actually, the mayor and I have done this several times when the cameras aren’t here,” Batts said.
“The officers that are on patrol do this day in and day out and don’t wait for cameras to show up to do their jobs,” Rawlings-Blake said.
Residents say as soon as the mayor and police pack up to leave, the criminals come back and it’s business as usual.
“They come through once in a while. They don’t come through here regularly for this to be a high crime neighborhood,” said Renee Harrington.
People in what is known as “the chum” say if the shootings and killings are to stop, it will take more than a walk; they will have to trust the police again.
“It’s a lot in the police force, too and when we see they are being honest and doing their job, people have to gain their trust back,” said Barbara Jordan.
The police commissioner has been adamant in saying in order for Baltimore to rid itself of crime, residents must do their part in speaking out against criminals in their neighborhood.
Last year, the homicide rate reached its highest in years at 234.
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