Crime rates since Freddie Gray incident echoes 1990s levels
The number of murders in Baltimore hit 212 on Thursday, overtaking the number of homicides recorded in 2014 with over a third of the year left to go.
A 28-year-old man hospitalized after being shot in the chest died Thursday. He was shot Wednesday night on the West side of Baltimore, near where another man was shot and killed the day before.
Baltimore is now experiencing almost a homicide a day, a murder rate that is reminiscent of 1990s crime levels when the city regularly saw upwards of 300 murders a year.
The city has seen a significant spike in crime since the April death of Freddie Gray in police custody. The 25-year-old’s death set off a series of protests around Baltimore, leading to a state of emergency and National Guard troops entering the city to keep the peace. Six officers were later indicted in the incident.
Following Gray’s death, arrests by Baltimore police plunged. According to the Baltimore Sun, there were 2,630 arrests per month from January to April with only 1,557 in May, the first month after Gray’s arrest and the ensuing protests. The Sun says that the number of arrests per month in 2015 is 2,381, down from 3,281 last year.
Representatives of the city’s police union along with criminal justice experts say that many Baltimore police have been hesitant to use force and arrest potential criminals after the six officers allegedly involved in Gray’s death were arrested, fearing potential legal repercussions. Criminals also may feel emboldened following this spring’s riots, in which some police held back from using force.