An interfaith coalition called on Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake on Friday to declare a state of emergency to quell violence in the city.

Members of Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development also want the mayor to bring other law enforcement agencies into the city, and they want police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts to step up crime-fighting efforts.


There have been 39 homicides in the city this month, including a 7-year-old and his mother, who were found fatally shot Thursday.

"Everyone from the president to the City Council should be outraged that a 7-year-old was killed," Bishop Douglas Miles of Koinonia Baptist Church said during a news conference outside Baltimore police headquarters. "What has to happen in this city for there to be outrage at every level?"

Kevin Harris, spokesman for Rawlings-Blake, said in an email that "every resource will continue to be deployed."

"We don't need a state of emergency to act, and we aren't waiting on one," Harris said.

He said Rawlings-Blake's administration has "reduced crime to its lowest levels in a generation."

"What we are witnessing in our city today is unacceptable," Harris said. "Baltimore will not backslide on the progress the community has fought for over the past few years."

Violence has surged since the protests and rioting that followed the April death of Freddie Gray. The 25-year-old died after suffering a spinal cord injury while in police custody. Six officers have been criminally charged in his death.

As the number of shootings has spiked, arrests have decreased. Recent figures show 1,177 people have been arrested this month, compared to 3,801 in the same month last year.

Gene Ryan, president of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3, has said that officers fear being arrested for doing their jobs and that criminals "are taking advantage of the situation."

Miles also said he suspects that criminals are taking advantage but stressed that police officers must step up. He likened criminals to "spoiled children with parents who do not discipline."

Miles said he has heard from many in his church and in the community who are afraid for their safety and worry the violence will continue if more is not done by the city's leadership.

"There are neighborhoods that are completely unpoliced," said Rob English, lead organizer with BUILD. "We're asking for the commissioner to step up and police our neighborhoods. We're in a state of emergency. We are calling on the leaders of the city to act."

English said BUILD plans to visit city neighborhoods over the weekend to monitor for a greater police presence, and to return to police headquarters Tuesday.