From the AP, an update on Ta-Nehisi Coates’s hometown:
Baltimore killings soar to a level unseen in 43 years By JULIET LINDERMAN Jul. 31, 2015 4:47 PM EDTYou could probably track how hard the police are actually working by how soon each day the chocolate donuts sell out.
BALTIMORE (AP) — Baltimore reached a grim milestone on Friday, three months after riots erupted in response to the death of Freddie Gray in police custody: With 45 homicides in July, the city has seen more bloodshed in a single month than it has in 43 years.
Police reported three deaths — two men shot Thursday and one on Friday. The men died at local hospitals.
With their deaths, this year’s homicides reached 189, far outpacing the 119 killings by July’s end in 2014. Nonfatal shootings have soared to 366, compared to 200 by the same date last year. July’s total was the worst since the city recorded 45 killings in August 1972, according to The Baltimore Sun. The seemingly Sisyphean task of containing the city’s violence prompted Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to fire her police commissioner, Anthony Batts, on July 8.
“Too many continue to die on our streets,” Rawlings-Blake said then. “Families are tired of dealing with this pain, and so am I. Recent events have placed an intense focus on our police leadership, distracting many from what needs to be our main focus: the fight against crime.”
Federal drug enforcement agents said gangs targeted 32 pharmacies in the city, taking roughly 300,000 doses of opiates, as the riots caused $9 million in property damage in the city.
Perched on a friend’s stoop, Sherry Moore, 55, said she knew “mostly all” of the young men killed recently in West Baltimore, including an 18-year-old fatally shot a half-block away. Moore said many more pills are on the street since the riot, making people wilder than usual.
“The ones doing the violence, the shootings, they’re eating Percocet like candy and they’re not thinking about consequences. They have no discipline, they have no respect — they think this is a game. How many can I put down on the East side? How many can I put down on the West side?” …
Arrests plummeted and violence soared after six officers were indicted in Gray’s death. Residents accused police of abandoning their posts for fear of facing criminal charges for making arrests, and said emboldened criminals were settling scores with little risk of being caught.
The department denied these claims, and police cars have been evident patrolling West Baltimore’s central thoroughfares recently.