) of former Commissioner Frederick Bealefeld tried in vain to get Batts to say or do something as the bodies dropped. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's office was reportedly silent, as she was in Las Vegas. So as Monday dawned the several detectives assigned to the department's public information detail were frantic, first in meetings, then setting up the microphone for the photo op in front of the rowhouses at 710 and 712 N. Kenwood. "C'mon, give me a hug," a man leaving 716 N. Kenwood said to a little girl on the stoop. She did, and then went back to blowing bubbles through a pink wand, which drifted toward the house across the street, 709, with a "Public Auction" sign in the window since January. People stuck their heads out their front doors and second floor windows to watch the commotion as the TV trucks and print reporters crowded the sidewalks now thick with uniformed police. "For us, it's a concern," Batts told the scrum, speaking of the murders. "We are having an unusual high spike." Bald and crisp in dress whites, the commissioner reminded the scribes and the wider public that, statistically speaking, crime had been trending down. He said he had been working with the "feds," anticipating the summer violence. "This weekend I was in contact with U.S. Attorney Rosenstein," Batts said, adding that the alphabet soup of federal law enforcement agencies—DEA, ATF, ICE, FBI, etc.—were also called to help respond, as well as the State Police. "So you will see a coordinated attack," the commissioner stated in his flat, emotionless style. He added condolences to the victims' families. He then mentioned that some of this weekend's murder victims had "drug-related backgrounds," a fact that in Baltimore hardly needs to be added. "That tells me that's not a random incident that took place." As if Baltimore citizens were otherwise being struck by meteorites. The questions were perfunctory—what are you doing about illegal guns? What about criticism from the city council? The answers were too—but telling all the same: "The crime rate is down," Commissioner Batts said. "I think we're doing a good job and going in the right direction. "What's really critical is that this is a community, and that they understand that we care." The commissioner then demonstrated his care by walking across the street, cameramen and press gaggle in tow, to shake hands with Cecil Dixon, one of two men on the stoop at 709 N. Kenwood. He told the men that he cares.