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Hi, thanks for the question. It's difficult to say, of course. The police commissioner points to a rise in gang activity. Internally, officers tell me the shift away from the Violent Crimes Impact section - a plainclothes unit that was a signature of the Bealefeld years - has had a negative effect
That's a difficult question, Paul. I would say the economic woes certainly have something to do with it but it's hard to argue that things aren't looking better in that aspect in Baltimore than previous years. The Census showed the city's population going up for the first time in years. There is growth in the Biomedical parts of the city. But the unemployment rate is around 10 percent in the city vs. 7 or so for the state. Double digits is a bad sign.
An update: Two of last night's shooting victims have died, a third is in grave condition. Baltimore has started off 2014 with 8 shootings, four of them fatal
It was high this year, indeed - 95 percent of homicide victims were black, which is the highest figure for the data I have going back 10 years. It has hovered around 87 to 92 - 95 is high. I dont have drill-down data from other cities, but nationally, 50.5 percent of homicide victims were black, according to the FBI
Well, this is a challenge in talking about crime. It is down. In fact, in the city, it's down from the time Gov. O'Malley was mayor (a drop that started after he left). So there's a delicate balance of trying to underscore where we're at, while not making it sound like we're content or excited about it. We have to be able to recognize real declines while keeping in perspective that, as far as Baltimore goes, its still too high
All I can say to the pot question is -- Colorado and Washington will prove as good test cases, though Mr. Fenton points out there isn't much crime there compared to here.
I should note that stats show violent crime declined significantly under O'Malley's tenure as mayor, even if the homicide and shooting rate did not. That's been a topic of much debate, but those are the stats
The Bloods and subsets of the Bloods were definitely talked about the most a few years ago. The BGF seems to have almost come out of nowhere, popping up for the first time around 2009 as a prison-gang trying to reach out into the streets, and now they seem to be connected to almost every high-profile case. While the commissioner repeatedly says the gang is tied to much of the violence (one estimate was 90 percent), we have not seen that in terms of charging documents and closed cases. Police said only 29 of the 235 victims were gang members in 2013.
I see Twitter as providing insight into the reporting process. I don't tweet everything I'm doing, particularly if its sensitive or particularly competitive, but I want to show people what I'm doing, and the crazy amount of news we're sifting through and trying to make sense of. Hopefully, that translates into people wanting to read the more complete stories.
As for the Spectator, he fancies himself an "agitator" and I think he certainly lives up to that. But he's also providing a unique perspective, and on the occasions when he does get out on the streets, he's helping to fill