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Baltimore is off to a deadly start in 2017

Baltimore is off to its deadliest start to a year in quite some time.

Baltimore has suffered its deadliest January in more than a decade.

The city recorded 32 homicides in the first 31 days of 2017 — more than a killing per day, and the most in January since 2005, when there were also 32. The only year on record with more killings in January is 1973, when there were 35.

The toll extended the city's historic spike in violence since April 2015, the month 25-year-old Freddie Gray died of injuries suffered in police custody, and the city erupted in riots.

Before the unrest, Baltimore had gone more than seven years without suffering 30 homicides in a month. In the 21 months since, it has happened 10 times.

Thirty killings per month is now about average in Baltimore. There were 621 from May 2015 through January, an average of 29.57 killings per month.

2015 was the deadliest year per capita in city history, with 344 homicides — even though the surge didn't begin until May. There were 23 homicides that January.

In 2016, the second-deadliest year with 318 homicides, there were 14 homicides in January — less than half the number this year.

Through Jan. 28, the most recent date for which citywide crime data is available, homicides were up 123 percent over the same time last year. Nonfatal shootings were up 79 percent; robberies were up 32 percent; aggravated assaults were up 38 percent.

Year-over-year comparisons have their limitations. The last week of January 2016, for example, was probably relatively quiet because the city was buried under snow.

The violence this year has continued into February. There were six homicides in the first four days of the month.

krector@baltsun.com

twitter.com/rectorsun

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