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Baltimore Police report nearly 15% decline in arrests from 2017 to 2019

Baltimore Police made nearly 15% fewer arrests in 2019 than they did in 2017.

The department reported 29,042 arrests in 2017, 25,563 in 2018 and 24,826 in 2019, according to department data. The arrest data includes crimes ranging from murder and rapes to vandalism and disorderly conduct.

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There were declines in several categories, including arrests for homicides, which dropped from 125 in 2017 to 101 in 2018 and 89 in 2019, even as the number of homicides in the city grew to 348 last year.

Overall arrests for drug offenses also declined about 30%, from 5,448 in 2017 to 3,770 in 2019.

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“While there are many variables that contribute to arrest data, the department continues to be laser-focused on apprehending and arresting violent offenders,” police spokeswoman Lindsey Eldridge said in a statement.

Some areas have seen increases in that time, which her statement said is attributed to “focused deployment and enforcement.”

Arrests for weapons possession and stolen autos auto have seen increases. Weapon possession arrests rose about 7%, from 1,080 in 2017 to 1,161 in 2019. Stolen auto arrests rose from 488 in 2017 to 711 in 2018 to 719 last year.

For aggravated assault, arrests fell from 1,125 in 2017 to 942 in 2018 but bounced back to 1,060 last year.

City Council President Brandon Scott said he’s more concerned about the quality of arrests than the quantity.

“I have always said it’s not how many arrest BPD makes but who,” Scott said. “We want quality, focused arrests. That is the thing that is not happening.”

As a result, he said, the city continues to see high numbers of violent crimes, including homicides.

Baltimore has experienced more than 300 homicides each year since 2015. In the first two months of 2020, the city has reported 49 homicides, up from 44 at the same time last year.

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