Crime in Baltimore

The city of Baltimore, Maryland, United States is infamous for its very high crime rate, including a violent crime rate that ranks high above the national average.

Crime rates (2014)
Crime type Rate*
Forcible rape:39.3**
Aggravated assault:675.7
Total violent crime:1338.5
Motor vehicle theft:719.5
Total property crime:4752.7
* Number of reported crimes per 100,000 population.
** Legacy definition[1]
Source: FBI 2014 UCR data

Crime statistics

In 2011, Baltimore police reported 196 homicides, the lowest number since recording 197 homicides in 1978.[2][3] That number is far lower than the peak homicide count of 353 in 1993.[4] The drop in 2011 was significant, when measured by the number of homicides, but the homicide rate was in the same range as the late 1980s when the city population was 130,000 higher. City leaders credited their sustained focus on repeat violent offenders and an increased community engagement for the continued drop, reflecting a nationwide decline in crime.[5] However, Baltimore's decline was short-lived, as a reported 219 and 235 homicides were committed in 2012 and 2013, respectively.[6][7] Baltimore's jump in homicides in 2013 defied regional and national trends.[8][9]

Violent crime spiked in 2015 after the death of Freddie Gray on April 19, 2015, which touched off riots and a crime wave that has resulted in an increase in murders. The city recorded a total of 344 homicides in 2015, a number second only to the number recorded in 1993 when the population was 100,000 higher. This was the highest murder rate on a per capita basis ever recorded. [10] Baltimore had seen 211 murders as of August 19, 2015, which equaled the total number of murders that occurred in Baltimore in all of 2014. [11] On July 10, 2015 Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake fired Police Commissioner Anthony Batts, saying his presence had become a distraction in a city that needs to focus on ending a dramatic spike in homicides.[12] The city has taken steps to quell the increased violence by seeking assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigations and other federal agencies, including embedding FBI agents in the City's police homicide unit.[13] On November 13, 2015 the number of murders for the year reached (and the next day surpassed) 300 for the first time since 1999. [14]

Baltimore's level of violent crime is much higher than the national average. In 2009, a total of 1,318,398 violent crimes were reported nationwide across the United States, equivalent to a rate of 0.4 incidents per 100 people.[15]

By location


Sandtown-Winchester, Baltimore is one of West Baltimore's most blighted and problematic communities.[16] In the second half of the 20th century, Sandtown experienced economic depression, housing abandonment, crime, and racial rioting in 1968.[17] Sandtown-Winchester was also the home of Freddie Gray, and the scene of his arrest. Following his death, the area was hard hit by riots including the looting and burning of a CVS drug store off the north-east corner of Sandtown-Winchester at the intersection of Pennsylvania and W. North Avenue. [18]


Further information: Berea, Baltimore

Though the area was once considered middle-class, Berea has in the last century experienced economic depression, housing abandonment, crime, and racial rioting. Its residents are largely lower income African Americans. The neighborhood served as a filming location for the Baltimore-based HBO television drama, The Wire. Berea is also a neighborhood where Bloods gang members are concentrated.[19]


The Baltimore Police Department is staffed by nearly 4000 civilian and sworn personnel. These include dispatchers, crime lab technicians, chaplains and unarmed auxiliary police officers. During Martin O'Malley's administration as mayor, the department had become 43% African American.[20]

In 2003, the FBI identified irregularities in the number of rapes reported, which was confirmed by then-Mayor Martin O'Malley. The number of homicides in 2005 appeared to exhibit discrepancies as well.[21] Former police commissioner Kevin P. Clark stated upon interview that the administration suppressed corrections to its crime reports;[22] however, many of the charges made by the police commissioner now appear to have been politically motivated.[23] The veracity of crime statistics reported by the Baltimore Police Department once again came under scrutiny in 2006, this time from Maryland legislators.[24]

See also

Criminal events:


Organized Crime

Cultural aspects of crime:


State & country:


  1. "FBI".
  2. "Baltimore Sees Lowest Homicide Count Since 1978". WJZ-TV. January 1, 2012. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  3. "Baltimore has fewer than 200 killings for first time in decades". The Baltimore Sun. January 1, 2012. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  4. "46 slayings in 41 days push homicide rate up". The Baltimore Sun. November 11, 1994. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  5. "Baltimore Sees Lowest Homicide Count Since 1978". WJZ-TV. January 1, 2012. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  6. "Baltimore Passes Curfew For Youth". Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  7. "Baltimore Marks 200th Homicide Of 2013". The Huffington Post. November 7, 2013. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  8. "Baltimore's jump in homicides in 2013 defies national trends". Baltimore Brew. January 2, 2014. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  9. "New FBI statistics: Baltimore No. 5 in murder rate". The Baltimore Sun. November 10, 2014. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  11. "Baltimore records 211th homicide, equaling total for 2014". The Baltimore Sun. August 19, 2015.
  12. "Baltimore Mayor Rawlings-Blake fires Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts". The Baltimore Sun. July 10, 2015.
  13. "Federal agents to embed with Baltimore homicide cops to quell unprecedented violence". The Baltimore Sun. August 2, 2015.
  14. "Per capita, Baltimore reaches its highest ever homicide rate". The Baltimore Sun. November 17, 2015.
  15. "Estimated crime in 2009". FBI Uniform Crime Reporting. Archived from the original on April 27, 2011. Retrieved March 20, 2011.
  16. Nick Madigan (June 11, 2008). "Outrage mingled with fear: Community responds after children, 2 and 3, are shot". The Baltimore Sun.
  17. "Sandtown-Winchester". Live in Baltimore. Retrieved June 28, 2012.
  18. "Wickham: Focus on Freddie Gray's neighborhood". Retrieved November 23, 2015.
  19. Gus G. Sentementes and Annie Linskey (April 15, 2007). "Gang problem hemorrhaging". The Baltimore Sun.
  20. "Black police officers claim discrimination within Baltimore department". , The Seattle Times (December 7, 2006)
  21. "Homicide Rate, Police Procedures Questioned"., WBAL-TV (February 14, 2006)
  22. "Ex-Commish Raised Questions During Tenure"., WBAL-TV (February 22, 2006)
  23. John Wagner and Tim Craig, Wagner, John; Craig, Tim (February 14, 2006). "Duncan Rebukes O'Malley Over Crime". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 26, 2010., Washington Post (February 14, 2006)
  24. "State Lawmaker Calls For Investigation Into Police"., WBAL-TV (February 14, 2006)
  25. The Black Guerrilla Family turned Baltimore's jail into a 'stronghold,' investigators say
  26. 1 2 Baltimore’s Bloods, Crips, BGF Gangs Explain Their Truce Throughout Freddie Gray Protests

External links

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