Through the the first quarter of 2016, overall violent and property crime is down in Baltimore, while homicides are up slightly year-over-year.
Baltimore had 56 homicides from January through March, including 19 in March. That compares against 51 in the first quarter of 2015 and 15 last March.
Like 2015 — when the city's 344 killings resulted in the highest per capita homicide rate in city history — most victims of this year's homicides were young black men.
Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said despite those increases, he is encouraged by the fact that this year's numbers are still well below those seen during the more violent months of 2015 after the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, which sparked rioting. After the unrest, homicides skyrocketed. In May there were 42, and in July there were 45.
"When the stroke of midnight occurred on Dec. 31, 2015 into 2016, the circumstances that contributed to the surge of violence weren't automatically going to disappear," Davis said. "But, certainly, the temperature has been lowered."
As of March 26, the last date for which comprehensive city crime data is available, homicides in 2016 were up more than 10 percent compared to the same time last year. While overall violent and property crime was down 3 percent, non-fatal shootings were up 49 percent, aggravated assaults were up 11 percent and robberies were up 21 percent.