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Violent New Year: Two Homicides Reported In First Two Days Of 2020 As Mayoral Candidates Call For Change

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Police carried bags of evidence from a home in northeast Baltimore Thursday where a 37-year-old woman was stabbed to death in the city's first homicide of 2020.

It happened inside a rowhouse on Chesterfield Avenue in the Bel Air-Edison neighborhood around 2:30 a.m. An 18-year-old was also stabbed but survived.

Police have announced an arrest in that case but have not provided details.


In another violent incident, a man was robbed and set on fire in east Baltimore Thursday morning.

Later Thursday, a 26-year-old man was found dead inside a bullet-riddled vehicle in west Baltimore

"The crime is just too much," said Diane Bennett who lives in east Baltimore. "Every day it's just something. Every day."

The killing follows a bloody 2019 with 348 homicides, a record when adjusted for the city's shrinking population.

Several mayoral candidates spoke about the violence at separate events Thursday.

City Council President Brandon Scott introduced his crime plan, which would address violence as a public health crisis and focus in part on illegal guns.

"We cannot normalize this loss of life in Baltimore," he said.

WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren asked Scott about his confidence in Commissioner Michael Harrison.

Hellgren: "Do you think you would keep him in that job if you became mayor?"

Scott: "Listen, everybody is going to have to reapply. Right. Everyone's going to have to reapply because clearly what we are doing with the agencies right now isn't having the desired impact."

The city's homicide clearance rate is 31 percent. At a press conference in front of city hall, candidate Thiru Vignarajah claimed the number of murders solved through the arrest of a suspect is much lower — at 10 percent.

"If only one out of 10 murders is leading to an arrest in Baltimore City, you can imagine the signal that's being sent to the criminal element. 'You can get away with murder' and it's true," Vignarajah said.

This week, Commissioner Harrison spoke about the challenge of trying to solve more cases. He said the city is working to increase staffing and training.

"It has to do with evidence. It has to do with witness participation," he said.

Crime is perhaps the top issue in the city, weighing on the minds of many who call Baltimore home.

"We need to get to the root of the problem with what's going on and what is the cause of it. We need to do something about it," said James Norman of southwest Baltimore.

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