BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Marching against violence. Hundreds march through city streets to bring attention to and reduce crime.
Rick Ritter was there for the 300 Men March.
So far this year, we’ve seen one of the lowest mid-year homicide rates in nearly three decades. But still, police say they’ve got a long way to go in turning violence around.
One by one, side by side, led by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, hundreds walk through some of Baltimore’s most violent streets, sending a powerful message.
Juan Nance says the 300 Men March is the only hope in turning city violence around.
“By far, it’s the worst I’ve ever seen it. And I grew up in the ’80s,” he said.
Gunfire that trickles right into his neighborhood.
“There was a murder around Fourth of July weekend, broad daylight,” Nance said.
Violence Daphney Altson knows all too well. Her son was murdered in the city back in 2008.
“You don’t heal. None of us heal,” she said.
So far in 2014, the numbers are improving. Last year at this time, there were 121 homicides in the city. Right now, it’s down to 105.
“To be Baltimore, being small, it’s just too many,” said Altson.
Ninety-seven of those homicides fall between January 1 and June 30. It’s the lowest total for the first half of the year since 1983.
“People will see that we are not tolerating this,” the mayor said.
Police say one thing they need to improve on is solving murders across the city and getting those killers off the streets. Police solved less than half of 2014’s homicides–compared to the national average of 60 percent.
“That’s why we have led to repeat offenders,” said Altson.
Officials admit, they still have a long way to go, making Friday nights like these vital for all of Charm City.
“If our community is going to change, it’s led by the community,” said the mayor.
“It’s a slow process, but it has to take place, and it has to take place now,” Altson said.
In addition to being down 17 homicides from this time last year, police say they’re also down more than 40 shootings.
Police say the homicide rate is on track with the multi-year decline that ended in 2012.
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