The African-American community in Baltimore wanted less of a police presence in their neighborhoods. They got their wish. As a result, Baltimore has set records in 2015 for shootings and murders.
This tragic statistic was predicted on my blog and others when the mayor ordered less of a police presence in the mostly western black neighborhoods in response to the residents’ demands especially after Freddie Gray died in a police van. Now those neighborhoods are plagued by higher rates of violence.
There have been 343 homicides in 2015 which is the highest number of homicides since 1993. Compounding the situation are the non-fatal shootings. They have increased by 72 percent. In 2014 there were 370 non-fatal shootings but in 2015 they rose to 637 shootings. Unfortunately in both statistical categories are the innocent bystanders such as the 9 year old girl who was shot playing on her porch.
What the neighborhood people are ignored of is that when the police go after minor criminals as well as major criminals it makes for a safer environment. Mayor Guilani proved this in New York when he cracked down on all criminals during his administration.
If the western neighborhood people think it will get better over time, they are mistaken. Potentially 2016 could be even worse than 2015. Police have reported that when they respond to help calls, they often have crowds of hostile people surrounding them at their destination. Because of the mayor’s directives, they are unsure about what to do. Mayor Rawlins-Blake wants them to engage in community relations but how do you do that with a hostile crowd.
Many police officers have retired rather than continue working in the hostile city. Baltimore is having problems recruiting police officers so the city is under-staffed. It means less protection for all city residents.
Add to this the high cost of living in the city for the other residents not living in the dangerous neighborhoods. They must pay higher insurance rates and taxes to sustain the city government. When taxes go up and violence increases, the productive members of the city leave if they can afford it. Their departure creates a spiral of increasing taxes because the city has less revenue coming in and must continue to raise taxes or cut services. The only people who cannot move are the poor residents in the crime ridden neighborhoods. They are too poor to escape.
This tragedy will continue well into the future. Like Camden, Detroit and other cities racked by violence in the past, the city will continue to decline until the residents reverse themselves and beg for a tough police enforcement of the law. It will come years from now but a myriad of people will become crime statistics before it is achieved.