By Rick Ritter

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Baltimore City has hit the dark benchmark of 200 homicides more than halfway into the year.

The City is at a staggering pace to surpass 300 homicides for the third year in a row.

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There’s been an intense debate on what city leaders should do. Frustrations throughout the City are obvious.

“It’s us killing each other, too much crime against each other,” said Baltimore resident Christina Day.

“The kids can’t even play outside without getting hurt or shot,” said another resident.

Pressure on city officials continues to grow.

“We have a responsibility to reduce that violence,” said Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh.

Wednesday, the City hit 200 homicides, that same mark wasn’t hit until September last year and mid-August in 2015.

“Two years ago, we didn’t even reach 200 by now,” Day said.

For months, city police officers have been walking the streets wearing body cameras. For better or worse, it’s captured plenty of incidents, part of an ongoing effort to build trust within the community.

Police are taking a different approach to the out-of-control violence.

Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis has reassigned 150 officers and supervisors to make up what’s called the 21 District Action Teams, two for each of the City’s nine police districts.

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The new teams will serve in uniforms and marked police vehicles.

Experts who helped Los Angeles and Boston police departments with crime, are soon coming in to assist Baltimore.

“I’ve got two consultants coming in August to help us transform our police department,” Pugh said.

For some, it’s not enough.

“It seems like people don’t care the value of life anymore,” community activist Dr. Andre Humphrey said.

Humphrey said the answer is in Baltimore.

“You have people right here in Baltimore City capable of taking the bull by the horns,” he said.

To give the young kids more guidance.

“We need to sit down and let them see that they have a future and there is hope.”

Pugh also wants to put more parole and probation officers in the City and get funding to put computers in patrol cars.

The two consultants are currently in Chicago where the surge in violence is similar to Baltimore. They’re expected to arrive in August.

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Rick Ritter