As noted in the editorial ”Baltimore is trying a holistic approach to homicides. Will it work?”, Baltimore now is in its sixth year of 300-plus murders per year — one of the highest death tolls in the nation. In the three years before this streak, the average was 221 per year, which is 34% less than the 335 murders projected for 2020.
The Baltimore Sun’s editorial board advocates using a “holistic approach” to solve the murder problem. It would be reassuring to read something that demonstrates this approach actually works. Instead, The Sun’s editorial board correctly notes that this approach has been tried for years in Baltimore with limited success. Instead, I suggest three paths to take that are more likely to lead to a reduction in Baltimore’s murder rate.
First, go back to 2012 through 2014 and figure out what we were doing differently and are not doing now. Was there better cooperation between the police, state prosecutors and federal agents? Was the city’s police department better funded? Were police posts more fully manned? Was the police union more supportive of the commissioner’s goals? Let’s reinstitute those factors.
Second, take a trip to our peer cities and figure out what they are doing correctly now. Baltimore is not the only city facing such problems. The Sun’s editorial notes that Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Louisville all have murder rates significantly lower than Baltimore’s. What are places such as these cities and others, such as Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, doing right now that we can implement here in Baltimore?
Third, take a look within Baltimore’s own police department. Police Commissioner Michael Harrison often notes that crime in general is down. What is the police department doing correctly so that the number of, say, break-ins is down while there is no similar reduction in the number of murders? Let’s apply those successful practices to reducing the number of murders also.
John McDaniel, Baltimore
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