Jalina Thompson hardly noticed the two customers who walked into her Metro PCS store in Northeast Baltimore in January with their hoods pulled tight. Temperatures in the city had been frigid for days.
Then one of the men placed a gun on the counter and demanded cash.
“This is real,” he said. “I need you to move fast.”
While the three-year spike in violent crime in Baltimore draws most of the attention, business owners across the city have suffered a similar increase in commercial robberies. Such crime has risen 88 percent in the last five years, from 560 commercial robberies in 2013 to more than 1,000 last year.