BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Community members in Baltimore are calling for a ceasefire in the midst of what’s on pace to be the most murder-filled year the city has ever seen.
The number of homicides shot up to 344 in 2015, the year Freddie Gray was fatally injured in police custody, and 318 people were killed last year.
So far in 2017, more than 185 people have been victims of homicide.
Before 2015, Baltimore had not exceeded 300 annual homicides for decades.
The movement’s Facebook group says it is collecting money to give to any family that does lose someone to violence during the first weekend of August — August 4 through August 6.
If the ceasefire is successful and no one is killed, the first family who loses someone to violence after August 6 will get the funds, they say.
The group has also created Baltimore Ceasefire shirts, flyers and other materials.
“I’ve seen the momentum build over the past several weeks,” Baltimore Police spokesman T.J. Smith told our media partners at The Baltimore Sun. “We are all in this together, and we’re 1,000 percent supportive of the efforts.”
Smith just lost his younger brother to gun violence earlier this month.
The movement’s creators are also urging people to “celebrate life” during the first weekend of August, by doing fun things in their communities.