BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Gang retaliation continues to wreak havoc on certain parts of Charm City, as police struggle to get a firm hold on the crime.
Police say gang retaliation has played a big part in the surge of violence we’ve seen over the past several months, and as quickly as some of these gangs go down, others come right back up.
Recently, there have been shootings one after another, with sirens becoming a sort of theme music in Baltimore.
It’s all part of what police have called a tennis match of violence between gangs.
“Gang retaliation has always been a part of gang violence,” said retired officer Tony Avendorph.
Investigators say gang retaliation has fueled a bloody January that saw 32 homicides.
Last year, federal agents in Baltimore arrested several Black Guerilla Family members, and in September, a gang known as the Murdaland Mafia Piru was hit hard.
[Reporter: “As quick as you take a gang down like that, how easy is it for a gang to pop back up?”] “As soon as you take them off the street, they have someone to replace them. Because that’s the way they groom them,” said Rev. Dr. Andre Humphrey, commander of the Baltimore Trauma Response Team.
Investigators have long said that gang members are violent, repeat offenders and most who make it out of jail and back on the streets, come out more educated – educated in criminal activity.
Many say the problems occur when the charges brought against these gang members don’t stick, or some get suspended sentences.
“If your case is not solid, maybe all eight aren’t going to go to court, maybe all eight don’t get convicted,” said Avendorph.
It’s a question Dr. Humphrey can’t seem to understand.
[Reporter: “Will the violence in Baltimore City ever turn around if these guys keep getting let out?] “No, and as long as people look the other way,” said Dr. Humphrey.
An example about violent, repeat offenders: Of the eight alleged gang members who were indicted Tuesday, police say all eight were violent, repeat offenders, who made it back on the streets. Some even had attempted murder and rape charges.
Just eight days into February, Baltimore City already has nine homicides.