By Rick Ritter

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Turning the tide. Homicides and shootings up dramatically in Baltimore after six city police officers are charged in the death of Freddie Gray. It’s not an easy job,  and it’s even harder on the city’s west side.

Rick Ritter takes a ride along with police to see exactly what they face every day.

There’s no denying the surge of violence across Baltimore City. The arrest and death of Freddie Gray sparking protests, riots and an uptick in violence and crime, leaving a dark cloud over the entire city.

“Two words–chaos and outrage,” one man said.

In the Western District alone–an area that’s the center of mayhem–23 shootings in 28 days with five homicides. Some say they’re scared to walk the streets.

“You just want to get to work safely and get to work safely back home,” one man said.

In a ride along with city police in the Western District, police admit to WJZ responding hasn’t been easy.

“It’s definitely been difficult. There’s a lot of people out there that are becoming a little bit more bold and they’re taking a little bit more chances than they would have before the riots,” said Officer Arena.

The officers say they don’t feel morale is down in the department, but understand why some officers might second guess themselves.

Ritter: “Are you guys still actively policing the Western District area?”

Officer Naylor: “We respond to the calls that we’re given from the dispatcher. We’re not going to not respond.”

Since the riots and the protests, officers in the Western District have been assigned to respond in teams with two officers in patrol cars.

Rick Ritter


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