How Baltimore became murder city

Baltimore is now the deadliest city in America. With 55.5 homicides per 100,000 people in 2017, it ranked 21st in the world and far outpaced New Orleans and Detroit. USA Today finds that a portion of Charm City’s increase can be attributed to less vigilant policing beginning in 2015, when the murder rate spiked from roughly 35 per 100,000 from 2008-2014 to more than 50 per 100,000 since 2015. Police responded to reported crimes, but took less initiative on their own. Between March and May 2015, police-initiated actions plunged 67 percent from more than 15,000 to fewer than 5,000 and shootings (murders and assaults) quadrupled from 50 to 200. Before Freddie Gray’s death in police custody, police often initiated 15,000 actions month, but the number has been closer to 10,000 per month afterward. Research indicates it will take concentrated effort or significant resources to make Baltimore safe again.

Joseph Coletti / Senior Fellow

Joe Coletti is a senior fellow at the John Locke Foundation focused on fiscal policy issues. He previously headed the North Carolina Government Efficiency and Reform initiativ...

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