BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Nearly a year after the Baltimore Police Department unveiled its five-year crime plan, homicides are nearly on pace with 2019’s record-breaking number but overall violent crime and property crime are down, data from the department shows.
As of Wednesday, there have been 175 homicides in the city in 2020 compared with 177 at the same point in 2019. This year had been trending slightly higher than in 2019, which saw the highest number of per-capita homicides in the city’s history,
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Non-fatal shootings are down from last year, currently sitting at 336 compared to 399 at the same point in 2019.
Just days before the one-year anniversary of the crime plan’s unveiling, the police department released its year one review of its efforts. The review highlights a number of steps the department has taken to reform and modernize itself, including bringing new leadership to the department’s Public Integrity Bureau and developing a community policing plan.
Data included in the review shows overall violent crime — including homicides, rapes, robberies, aggravated assaults and shootings — down 12 percent between the first half of 2019 and the first half of 2020. Property crimes during the same time dropped by 24 percent.
Still, Police Commissioner Michael Harrison acknowledged in a news release that “homicides continue to persist.”
The 2019 crime plan included the implementation of a “focused deterrence model” to reduce shootings and homicides. That model targets habitual violent offenders who have committed multiple violent crimes in specific parts of Baltimore.
The review said the police department will continue to use the focused deterrence model and group violence intervention efforts to reduce crime, citing the program’s success in New Orleans, where Harrison previously served as police commissioner.
“BPD, in conjunction with the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, has been working diligently to build the program. We have secured financial commitments from institutional and philanthropic sources over the next three years that will fund the initiative starting in early FY21,” the review reads.
The review also touted the department’s handling of recent protests in the wake of the death of George Floyd and the steps it’s taken under the federal consent decree, including changes to use-of-force policies.
“BPD has already implemented the use of force reforms that communities across the nation are demanding,” the review reads. “The entire department has been retrained on its new use of force policies which focus on de-escalation, the sanctity of human life, and police legitimacy.”