Baltimore has degenerated into a cesspool of violence and crime. In 2016 the beleaguered city recorded its second deadliest year in history. The chaos is now so widespread that every police officer in the force is now required to work twelve-hour shifts until further notice.
“They don’t care who they shoot anymore. They shoot women and children and everybody,” Baltimore resident Ronnie Barnes told a local newspaper. Barnes’ 14-year-old son was killed by a stray bullet.
“He had no right to do what he did. You start killing people’s babies, man, it’s a problem. That was a child,” Barnes said. “You don’t do that. You don’t take little kids out like that. That don’t make any sense to me at all. Never will.”
This week 6 people were murdered and twelve people were shot on Monday and Tuesday alone. The violence is so severe that the city is beginning to resemble a war zone. No one is safe. Last year 1 out every 2,000 people in Baltimore was murdered.
“An obvious thing that the Baltimore [Police Department] is struggling with is the volume of cases versus the number of detectives and resources to investigate those cases,” Daniel Webster, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, said.
“Surprisingly, there is not a whole lot of research that tries to connect the dots between unsolved murders and non-fatal shootings and how it relates to where violence is going. But my view of it is that if you don’t bring shooters, killers, to justice, the street works that out — and it becomes this reciprocal pattern where violence spreads in almost a contagious way.”
The Trump administration favors a tough on crime approach. Former Attorney General Eric Holder, under Barack Obama’s direction, preferred pardons and light sentences. That might be why the madness in Baltimore hasn’t been contained yet.
Baltimore police are overworked and understaffed. Forcing officers to slog through twelve-hour shifts might lead to sloppy policing.
“Are the police putting resources into the homicide division to close some of these cases? When people think they can get away with something, they’re not worried about it,” said Kevin Wilder, a church deacon whose sister and 7-year-old nephew were both murdered in 2015.
“Baltimore City has so many cases coming in that each detective each week is booking new cases, and now there is no time to work the [previous] case they started on. Each victim’s family feels the same way — that their case is being pushed under the rug.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently urged state attorneys to prosecute drug offenders to best of their ability. Obama’s Justice Department sought to circumvent the law and keep drug criminals out of jail. Now that that’s failed, Sessions is going to try something different.
If drug dealers and their worst customers are swept off the streets police, the city should see a corresponding drop in violence. Most of the attacks are senseless ones involving gangs or drugs. Even if those men and women were in bars instead of selling drugs on every corner, Baltimore would be significantly better off.
“Quite frankly it pisses off the community, it angers us, it frustrates us. We are going to keep fighting our way through this, there is nowhere for us to run. There is nowhere for us to hide. We are responsible for public safety in the City of Baltimore, and we are going to keep working our hearts out until we get to a safer better place,” Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said.
Innocent men, women, and children are being slaughtered in a city addicted to drugs and crime.
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