USA Today names Baltimore 'the nation's most dangerous city'

Baltimore’s highest-ever per capita homicide rate in 2017 also made it the deadliest big city in the country, USA Today reported Monday.

Though official data from the FBI won’t be available until later in the year, USA Today reviewed the homicide rates in the nation’s 50 largest cities and Baltimore came out on top. The 342 homicides the city experienced in 2017 were a 17 percent increase over the prior year, and translated to a rate of 56 killed per 100,000 people.

That easily outpaced New Orleans and Detroit, which both had about 40 killings per 100,000 people, according to the report.

Baltimore had more homicides last year than New York City, Philadelphia and Los Angeles, all considerably larger cities. Only Chicago, also a considerably larger city, had more.

USA Today used the nation’s top 50 cities, which omits St. Louis, a city of about 315,000 people that had 205 killings in 2017. St. Louis’ homicide rate of 65 would easily top Baltimore’s rate.

The review showed killings across the country decreased by at least 1 percent in large jurisdictions compared with 2016.

So far in 2018, Baltimore is seeing a decline in homicides. Through Sunday, 31 people had been killed, compared with 47 killed at the same time last year — a decline of about 34 percent. Other types of crime are also down across the board.

Mayor Catherine E. Pugh fired Police Commissioner Kevin Davis in late January, replacing him with department veteran Darryl De Sousa. State and federal authorities have been stepping up arrests using open warrants, and residents organized a recent Ceasefire weekend.

jfenton@baltsun.com

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