Watch CBS News

Baltimore's Violent Crime Woes Part Of National Trend, Expert Says

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Crime over the holiday weekend dominated headlines. Police say five people were killed in Baltimore between Friday and Memorial Day - and several others were injured after shootings in the city.

One of the victims was 17-year-old Neal Mack, who died after being shot near the Inner Harbor.

Baltimore is experiencing the same pressing issue of violence as many other cities across the country.

Since Friday, officials reported that about 50 people were shot in Chicago and at least 9 died. CBS Chicago reported that there was even a triple shooting at a memorial service for a shooting victim.

In Philadelphia, at 15 people were murdered over the long weekend, one was a 9-year-old boy.

In Baltimore from Friday to Monday, police say 5 people were murdered, another 8 were shot but survived.

At a Memorial Day Peace Rally, Mayor Brandon Scott praised communities that are stepping up to denounce violence. The Mayor also pointed out that Baltimore is not alone.

"This violence thing in this country is growing. We had a similar thing happen in Tennessee. We had it happen in Milwaukee downtown two weeks ago. We had it happen in New York in a subway" said Mayor Scott.

University of Maryland criminologist Gary LaFree said crime started trending up a few years ago, and some of the reasons include people not trusting police - so they don't report problems. LaFree also said there have been cases where police have pulled back from enforcement in certain crimes and both aspects create a ripple effect where criminals are getting away.

"I think the key event of what's going on right now is legitimacy of the system," LeFree said. "And if you think about what happens when legitimacy declines, people are less willing to turn to police to report crimes."

LaFree also addressed the success of prosecutions after people are charged.

"The clearance rates for even serious crimes like homicide are now getting below 30%. And if you think about what that means, it means 70% of the time in big cities, you're getting away with murder, and that's not a good statistic to be floating around."

LaFree said easy access to guns makes the problem even worse, as we've seen with recent mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas and Buffalo, New York.

"The United States is a real standout among democracies in terms of the number of firearms we have, and the fact that it's so easy to get your hands on, not just firearms, but extremely deadly firearms, and that is a bit of an exception compared to other democracies," LaFree said.

In Baltimore, citizens are trying to do their part with anti-violence community events similar to one organized by the We Our Us Movement in Sandtown on Monday.

Baltimore police said over the holiday weekend there were more than 100 arrests in crime, including for some serious violations, like one person arrested for attempted murder, 15 handgun arrests and more than 60 for aggravated assault.


View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.