As December nears its end and so with it the year 2015, the number of homicides in Baltimore has surged to its highest rate since the 1990s with 340 deaths as of Monday, December 29.
While there were more murders in the past, Baltimore has reached a grim new milestone with its 340th murder making 2015 the worst year for murders on a per capita basis. And it should be noted that there is still three more days left to the year.
Authorities report that in 1993 there were 353 murders, making that year the most dangerous year on record. However, Baltimore had 100,000 more residents at that than today.
Murders in the city began to multiply after the riots over the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old African American who died from a broken neck in April of 2015 while in police custody.
In fact, only a few months after Gray’s death and the ensuing riots, in July of this year the city suffered its highest monthly murder rate in 43 years.
The rise in murders came after police were told by city officials to stand down during the riots and in the ensuing months where police became the object of intense criticism as “part of the problem” in the city.
After increased scrutiny, many began to charge that the police were holding back and refusing to do their jobs to stop the increasing violence in the city, a charge that officers strenuously denied.
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