Baltimore's Homicide Record in 2015: a Riddle, Wrapped in a Mystery, Inside an Enigma
January 18, 2016, 05:40 AM
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From the NYT:

The Numbers Behind Baltimore’s Record Year in Homicides

By JESS BIDGOOD JAN. 15, 2016

Searching for answers in the deadliest year in Baltimore’s history

… A sharp increase in homicides that, by the end of the year, left the city with the highest per-capita murder rate in its history.

Residents, analysts and policymakers here are divided over the precise cause of the surge in homicides. …

​344

The number of Baltimore homicides in 2015, a 63 percent increase over 2014

In 2014, Baltimore had 211 homicides, which the Police Department said was the city’s second-lowest number since 1972. By the end of 2015, the number of homicides rose to 344….

Why did homicides in Baltimore spike in 2015?

A search for explanations

Experts have not pointed to a single, dominant reason for this rise in homicides in Baltimore, nor have they definitively established any kind of causal link between the unrest in April after Freddie Gray’s death and the increase in killings.

From January through mid-April, the city’s monthly homicide totals were near the same pace of recent years – there were 58 homicides in the period in 2015, 50 in 2014 and 59 in 2013. …

On April 19, Freddie Gray’s death touched off protests and civil unrest in Baltimore. In May, the city had 42 homicides — which at that point, was among its deadliest months in decades. There were 29 homicides in June and another 45 in July. For the rest of the year, Baltimore averaged 31 homicides a month.

So, let’s divide 2014 and 2015 up into pre and post the Black Lives Matter event of April 19, 2015: the death of Freddie Gray:

Pre Black Lives Matter:

  • 2014: 50 homicides
  • 2015: 58
  • Increase +16%
Post Black Lives Matter:
  • 2014: 161
  • 2015: 286
  • Increase +78%
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