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Most dangerous cities in America: where's Baltimore?

Most dangerous cities in America: where's Baltimore?

What's this -- Baltimore doesn't even place in the Top 10 of the most dangerous cities in America? (We were #11 on the list from CQ Press.) Maybe now our fair city can fade into the background a bit, and I won't be subjected to intense questioning about murder rates and other criminal activity whenever I travel. In Belgium last week, "The Wire" had preceded me, and folks asked me about the crime problems here. And on a plane from Connecticut this morning, my seat-mate wanted to know how safe the city was (irony of ironies -- he was headed to St. Louis, #1 on the CQ list).

Of course, there's no hiding the city's problems, when there are hundreds of slayings each year, and drug wars have devastated large swaths of East and West Baltimore. The city also has received more than its share of media attention from David Simon books and TV shows such as "Homicide," "The Corner" (shown here, and for my money, the best book ever written about the inner city) and "The Wire."

But I do wish we could get to the day when folks I meet would ask about the Inner Harbor, the BMA's Cone collection, Edgar Allen Allan Poe, or the Orioles pennant chances (OK, call me a dreamer). Anything but the crime rate.

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