Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said Wednesday her confidence in Police Commissioner Anthony Batts has not wavered, despite a dramatic spike in homicides to start the year.

Baltimore has experienced 16 homicides this year — more than one a day — compared with five at the start of 2013. This rise comes after two years of increases in the number of murders in the city.

The mayor said she remains committed to Batts and a strategy of targeted arrests of the most-violent offenders.

"These are very targeted hits," she said of the killings. "Many of the individuals have been shot in the head. These are not accidental acts. One of the incidents I know based on preliminary feedback is that the gentleman was laying in wait for someone."

Rawlings-Blake called for everyone in Baltimore to help by providing information to police. "The residents do not want to live in communities where they feel under siege by criminals or the police. In order for us to do this, we have to continue to work together," she said.

lbroadwater@baltsun.com

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