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Police Say Repeat Offenders, Retaliation Lead To High Homicide Count

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s a surge in violence that’s now shown no signs of slowing down, as Baltimore continues to grapple with a grim number of homicides.

Police say they are constantly dealing with violent, repeat offenders, calling it a tennis match of violence.

Some wonder if this is just the new norm, with police insisting that it’s not.

Crime scene tape, evidence markers, and flashing lights have become a common theme in a city ravaged by gunfire.

“We’re dealing with people, sadly enough, who are sometimes suspects today and victims tomorrow,” said Baltimore PD spokesman T.J. Smith.

Coming off another year of 300 murders, January brought 32 homicides. The only January with more was in 1973.

Since 2015, Baltimore now has a chilling average of close to 28 homicides a month.

While the numbers are certainly staggering, police attribute most of the recent violence to gang retaliation.

Just weeks ago, a man was gunned down inside an east Baltimore barber shop while waiting to get a haircut.

The month before that, a man opened fire on a group of people outside a northwest Baltimore convenience store, killing two execution-style.

Back in September, there were 19 people who were shot during one weekend.

“It’s, ‘I’m going to get this person who got my person,’ and it’s back and forth, back and forth,” said Smith.

“When you’re dealing with a blood war, it’s a lot more personal and a lot more dangerous,” said Dr. Ted Sutton, a former gang member.

A blood war that has detectives dialing in on repeat offenders. It’s a task that’s far from easy, but has police refusing to settle.

[Reporter: “People saying it’s the new norm. Your message to them?”] “It’s not the norm,” said Smith. “And we’re not going to accept it.”

Police say that the 32 homicides victims in January had, on average, 12 arrests each. Of the 318 homicides last year, police say the average number of arrests per victim was 11.

Showing that police are dealing with repeat offenders who are constantly around violence and drugs before they’re being killed.

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