Baltimore Leaders Fight City’s Criminal Reputation In Pop Culture

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore is fighting a bad rap. First it was “Homicide,” then “The Wire” and now another hit. A new National Geographic TV show features what they call “the heroin hustle” taking over Baltimore streets. Now city leaders are battling back.

Meghan McCorkell has more on what they’re doing.

While leaders admit Baltimore does have some issues with drugs and violence, the city is making major strides.

The benches call Baltimore the greatest city in America but one look at TV shows anything but.

“Unfortunately, there are programs out there that depict the negative things that are inside of Baltimore, like every other major American city,” said Baltimore City Councilman Nick Mosby.

First “Homicide: Life on the Streets” and then “The Wire” and now a new episode of Drugs Inc. on National Geographic labels Baltimore the heroin capital of America—a title critics say is undeserved.

“Calling it the capital, focusing on that constantly really distorts the picture of the city and it’s not fair and it’s not helpful,” said Bernard McBride, Behavioral Health Baltimore.

Lexington Market is one of the longest running food markets in the world. The show hones in on drug dealers near the market—a problem police have been targeting.

The city has increased security at Lexington Market and plans for a renovation inside are underway.

“The city is changing and it’s changing for the better,” said Mike Evitts, Downtown Partnership.

Evitts says the new show doesn’t tell the full story. In a recent study, of the top 25 metro areas, Baltimore ranks eighth in downtown population, 14th in highest household income and 12th in employment.

“Any major city has a lot of different stories and this show is only focusing on one small piece of what’s really happening in our city,” Evitts said.

Now leaders hope positive images of the city can outweigh the negative.

Leaders say major events like Sailabration, which is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of tourists, prove Baltimore is a vacation destination.

The Downtown Partnership says the number of people choosing to live in downtown Baltimore is growing.

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