Baltimore has hit 300 homicides for the fourth year in a row.
The city reached the mark late Wednesday, with the fatal shooting of a 30-year-old man in West Baltimore.
Last year Baltimore’s 300th homicide came in early November, the day before city activists launched their second ceasefire of the year. The city ended 2017 with 342 homicides, or 56 per every 100,000 residents. That was the highest per-capita homicide rate in the city’s history and the highest that year of any American city with more than 500,000 people.
Early this year, it seemed Baltimore was poised for a turnaround, with both homicides and violent crime down during the first quarter. Violence rose as the year went on, however. September was Baltimore’s deadliest month since May 2017, with nearly half of the killings occurring over the course of a single week. By Oct. 9, Baltimore surpassed 40 killings in a 30-day span for the first time since 2015.
The pace of killings accelerated in the spring of that year, following the in-custody death of Freddie Gray. Gray’s death was later ruled a homicide. Three officers charged in his death were acquitted and charges were dropped against another three.
Until 2015, Baltimore hadn’t reached 300 homicides since the 1990s — the deadliest decade in the city's history in terms of body count. The homicide rate was lower back then, however, as the city had about 100,000 more residents.
300 homicides remains a symbolic benchmark for the severity of Baltimore’s violence.
In 2001, a Baltimore Sun article was published on New Year’s Day under the headline, “Fewer than 300 homicides at last.”