Last year, the first homicide in Baltimore took place 11 days into the New Year. This year there have been 8 homicides in the first six days – and 16 murders in the first 12 days.
The surge is approaching the number of murders recorded last month (19) and is one less than in all of October (17). Overall, 2013 saw the highest number of homicides in four years.
Murders so far in 2014 (averaging 1.3 per day) exceed the high point of 27 murders last June (0.9 a day). Police blamed the June murder spike on gang-related turf fights. The recent uptick has been characterized as random, mostly unconnected incidents of violence by Police Chief Anthony W. Batts.
Homicides Migrate to Outer Districts
While murders were concentrated last year in the “inner city,” especially the Western District, they have spread out in the last two weeks.
Normally-quiet Southwestern District has seen four homicides, including the shooting death of a 48-year-old grocery-store employee, while there’s been 3 murders in Northwestern, 3 in Northeastern and 2 in Northern.
By contrast, only 1 murder has been recorded in Western in 2014. Central District saw 1 death that shook upscale Mount Vernon over the weekend – a 28-year-old victim found shot several times in an overturned crashed car just one block from the Washington Monument.
Police officials told the City Council last week that they planned to put more officers on the street and will continue implementing the strategic plan ordered by Chief Batts and endorsed by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake in November.
Here is a listing of homicide victims, January 1-12, 2014