Last year, Baltimore had the unwelcome distinction of having the highest homicide rate of any US city of more than 500 thousand people – at 58 per 100 thousand residents. Most of those homicides were committed with guns.
Baltimore City Police Commissioner Michael Harrison was on Midday last week, and he pointed to a strategy of “focused deterrence” as the centerpiece of the BPD’s efforts to stop the violence. Some variation of that strategy has been tried several times in recent years. But as the Department has begun to slowly implement reforms mandated by the federal Consent Decree, the murder rate remains high, while trust in police in Baltimore’s communities of color remains low.
That distrust is premised in large measure by what the DOJ called, in a 2017 report, a “pattern and practice of unconstitutional policing.” A new report from the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research offers solutions. It’s called Reducing Violence and Building Trust: Data to Guide Enforcement of Gun Laws in Baltimore.
Its lead author is Daniel Webster. He is the Bloomberg Professor of American Health in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Professor Webster is the director of the school’s Center for Gun Policy and Research. Daniel Webster joins us via Zoom…
Longtime community development activist Ray C. Kelly joins us as well. He’s the former CEO of the No Boundaries Coalition, and he is a member of the monitoring team that is overseeing the BPD's consent decree with the Department of Justice. He’s also the founding director of the non-profit Citizens Policing Project. He joins us, by phone, in his unofficial capacity as a community advocate.