BALTIMORE (WJZ) — There’s a crackdown on crime amid a surge in violence and new arrests in one of Baltimore’s key crime prevention programs.
Investigator Mike Hellgren reports a vigil for one victim is getting underway soon.
“It’s so hard,” said Karen Parker.
Parker knows firsthand the toll of violence. She spoke to WJZ on Fayette Street, where her sister Jacquelyn—a mother and grandmother—was gunned down near the University of Baltimore campus just a week ago. She was one of four victims that night.
“We don’t know anything. Nothing. And it’s sad that my sister had to die for no reason at all,” Parker said.
Jacqueline Parker is one of more than two dozen people shot in the past week—part of an alarming rise in violence that’s affecting all parts of Baltimore.
“It’s got to stop. It’s got to stop, so please, please put the guns down,” Karen Parker said.
Police have struggled to control the violence, starting a war room where federal law enforcement agencies partnered with them to target the worst of the worst. They have not revealed specifics about the operation or its location but touted its success, showing off some of the 20 weapons seized.
“We understand the level of violence in this city is unacceptable. It’s unacceptable for us, it’s unacceptable for the citizens. We pledge then and vow now we will continue this fight until we get out of this violent crime crisis,” said Interim Police Commissioner Kevin Davis.
Police also announced arrests—including BGF gang members and two employees with the Safe Streets Program, ex-offenders paid to mediate disputes. In a sting operation, police found the two were dealing heroin and behind an armed robbery in east Baltimore.
“They often have criminal records and have more credibility because people see them as having walked in the shoes,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen. “It’s a known risk, not only in Baltimore City but other jurisdictions.
For the Parker family, peace isn’t coming soon enough for their communities and to their hearts.
“The police do have a terrible job to do our here. They’re doing the best they can,” said Paulette Parker. “We know God loves her and we love her best and it’s a sad situation.”
Twenty-three people have already been murdered in the city this month.