May became the deadliest month in more than 40 years in Baltimore after three men were killed Sunday, as the city deals with the fallout of protests and rioting after the death in police custody of Freddie Gray.
In total, 43 people were killed in the month of May, the Baltimore Sun reported, surpassing the 42 murders recorded in the city in August 1990.
The growing number of murders comes as arrest numbers have plummeted in the wake of controversy surrounding the death of Gray, according to to the Associated Press. Six of the city’s police officers were charged with a number of crimes in that incident, including manslaughter charges for four of the officers and a murder charge for one.
Lt. Gene Ryan, president of Baltimore city’s Fraternal Order of Police, attributed the rise in the murder rate partly to growing confidence among criminals, in an interview with TIME last week. “We’ve accomplished a lot of things over the last 10, 15 years and now we’re going backwards because the criminals are empowered,” Lt. Gene Ryan, president of Baltimore city’s Fraternal Order of Police said. “The criminal element is taking advantage of the crisis. They don’t believe there’s any recourse.”