BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Half way through 2021 and the city is on track to hit 300 homicides for the seventh consecutive year. Charm City is projected to have more than 1,000 shootings by year’s end.
City Council members are outraged. Many asking about accountability within the police departments and inquiring about what is being done differently to stop this horrific trend.READ MORE: 5 Injured, 1 Killed In West Baltimore Mass Shooting Wednesday
Commissioner Michael Harrison enacted a multi-tier plan two years ago and is focused on getting illegal guns off the street, eliminating domestic violence — which is on a significant rise since the pandemic — and targeting the city’s most violent offenders so they can be caught and prosecuted.
Councilman Eric Costello, representing District 11, said enough is enough: “Crime is off the hook in this city and it’s unacceptable.“
At the start of the City Council hearing, Councilman Mark Conway paused for a moment of silence to honor the 166 homicide victims taken in 2021.
“We can’t lose sight of the simple fact that lives are being lost right now,” Conway said. “Neighborhoods are hurting now, and we are on track for a staggering seventh straight year of over 300 homicides.”
A mass shooting in West Baltimore on June 16 claimed one life and injured five more people. It’s just one of the many violent incidents plaguing the city.
As of June 26, 2021, there have been 5,686 people arrested for city crimes. At the same time in 202, that number was 7,400.
Baltimore Police officials said the number is lower because they are focusing more efforts and resources on locking up the most violent offenders and misdemeanor/non violent crimes are not leading to as many arrests.
Recruiting and retention remain an issue for BPD, who have been functioning without enough officers for some time.READ MORE: More Criminals Are Using ‘Ghost’ Guns To Commit Violent Crimes In Baltimore, Making It Difficult For Police To Trace
Commissioner Harrison said now it’s an all-hands-on-deck approach.
“We use detectives and admin officers to flex the size of the patrol strength so we can be in more places, answer more calls, have more visibility,” Harrison said.
It has been four years since the enactment of the consent decree and two years since Commissioner Harrison implemented his crime plan, so Costello thinks changes should be noticeable and they are not.
“For us to suggest that what we are doing is working is false,” Costello said.
District 1 Councilman Zeke Cohen said seven cars were smashed and burglarized in Canton Wednesday night. Cohen said the officer who came out was not going to take fingerprints from the scene.
Commissioner Harrison explained not all non-violent crimes even warrant an officer to come out in person.
“While folks are concerned about violent crimes there is significant property crime as well,” Cohen said.
Harrison and the Baltimore Police Department urge citizens to make records and complaints online or over the phone as an officer might not make it out to all calls for service, if they are not violent.MORE NEWS: Baltimore Police Adjust Microzones To Target Neighborhoods With Higher Crime Rates
To learn more about filing online head to https://www.baltimorepolice.org/file-police-report