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It has become quite clear that violence in our city is worse than ever ("How Baltimore went from 43 homicides to 42 in May," June 4).

Murder rates are up and too many young people are dying. We need to address these problems now before more lives are lost.

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It is happening because there are too many people constantly on the streets, too many people are jobless and too many young people are not in school. This leads to people turning to drugs or joining gangs. When that happens too often things end with someone being seriously injured or killed. This cycle of violence has existed in the city for years.

We can begin to solve this problem by keeping people off the streets, but in order to do that we must create more opportunities for young people to get a better education because then they are more likely to find jobs that keep them from turning to the streets.

This also means having more extracurricular activities that appeal to kids, such as recreation centers or clubs. And we need to build better trust between young people and police officers. It is clear that people do not trust the police, and honestly I don't blame them. Officers engage in misconduct as much as anyone else.

That's why body cameras should be mandatory for all Baltimore City police officers. If the police were held more accountable for their actions people would trust them more and the city would be a lot safer.

Moreover, with fewer people engaged in the drug trade the city would be a lot cleaner, which would attract more people to live and work here.

The mayor needs to step up, listen to the community, determine what will work and then act. If we continue on our current course Baltimore eventually will just be another city that time has forgotten.

Alex McClafferty, Baltimore

The writer is a sophomore at Digital Harbor High School.

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