BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore has seen almost one murder per day so far this year, prompting Commissioner Kevin Davis to talk about his strategy at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.
Davis says his team can still turn things around, in a year where, if the killings keep up, the Baltimore is on pace to record its highest number of murders in history.
He insisted that the crime spike in Baltimore does not represent a “new normal.”
“We’re all very aware of the violence that is plaguing our city and on behalf of this police department, I want our community to hear from me and the leaders of the Baltimore Police Department that we absolutely acknowledge and condemn the violence that is occurring on the streets of Baltimore.”
“It’s scary,” said Baltimore City Mayor Catherine Pugh, who meeting with Davis next week to discuss strategy. “We’ve got to get a handle on this. I mean, this is outrageous to me.”
Davis issued a plea to the community to watch over young people who are frequently being exploited by older criminals to do their dirty work, because juveniles face such lenient consequences.
“It’s safer for a young person to become a robber nowadays than it is for that young person to start dealing drugs on the street and have to worry about rival drug organizations and gangs and territory disputes, etc.,” he said.
“We’re going to be in a much better place as a city if we can all resolve to get these young people help before they’re introduced to our very apathetic criminal justice system. Because quite frankly our criminal justice system creates repeat offenders.”
Davis also spoke about adding officers to patrols, saying he understand the morale among rank and file cops.
“While I would be tone deaf not to acknowledge that there is frustration amongst Baltimore police officers, amongst American police officers, we can’t use that as an excuse not to perform and do our job and serve the community.”
“We’re killing our own people in our own streets. We’ve got a problem,” said Pugh.
A statement released from the Office of the State’s Attorney said in part:
“As always, we will work cooperatively with the Baltimore Police Department, understanding that the safety of our communities depends and relies on us to do so. The State’s Attorney has requested a meeting with the Commissioner to discuss his thoughts on driving down violent crime.”
The commissioner has a list of 132 of the most violent people in Baltimore City. He is targeting them, as well as focusing on specific geographic areas.