Rawlings-Blake 'not satisfied' with uptick in murder rate

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said Wednesday that she is concerned about the city's uptick in murders this year following a record decline in 2011. 

"I'm certainly not satisfied with it," Rawlings-Blake said at a news conference after Wednesday's Board of Estimates meeting. "I don't want to go back. It's not the goal of my administration to become a more violent city. My goal is to become an exceptionally safe city, one of the safest big cities in the country. I won't be satisfied until that's where we are."

Rawlings-Blake said she is discussing with Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts "ways that we can increase enforcement and deployment to bring that down." Batts, who will be officially sworn in Thursday, has taken a low-profile tack on addressing recent incidents, and has said he is evaluating the agency's systems and policies.

There have been 189 people killed in Baltimore this year, compared with 176 people at the same time last year. Last year, 196 people were murdered, the first time the city's homicide count fell under 200 since the 1970s. Still, the city remained one of the most violent per capita, with the sixth-highest murder rate.

Non-fatal shootings are down 5 percent, which would continue an annual downward trend in shootings since 2006. 

Rawlings-Blake said not to expect any significant strategy shifts. "We know what works, and that's focusing on the most violent offenders. We know that works," she said. "We know that putting resources into technology as a force multiplier, we know that works."


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