Posted on June 1, 2015

Baltimore Records Deadliest Month in More than 40 Years

Mark Puente, Baltimore Sun, May 31, 2015

With three men killed in eastside shootings on Sunday, Baltimore recorded its deadliest month in more than 40 years.

The 43 killings in May surpassed the 42 homicides the city saw in August 1990, and left Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake defending police and her administration.

Speaking at a morning ceremony to honor McKenzie Elliott, the 3-year-old killed by a stray bullet in August, Rawlings-Blake said it’s time to stop finger-pointing and assigning blame for the recent violence.

The killing of African-Americans in Baltimore has to stop, she said, noting that 189 of the 208 killed last year were black men. For the city to improve, all homicides need to drop, she added.


The city’s 43rd homicide in May occurred late Sunday morning, when two men were shot in the back in the 1900 block of Collington Ave. in the South Clifton Park section of East Baltimore. One victim was pronounced dead at the scene at 11:37 a.m., according to police, while the second victim walked into an area hospital. His condition was not immediately available.

The 41st and 42nd homicides took place hours earlier, when two men were fatally shot in the head, police said. {snip}


Sunday’s homicides–which brought the total for 2015 to 116–came amid a continuing spike in shootings.


With Sunday’s shootings, police are investigating 108 nonfatal shootings in May.


Baltimore has recorded more homicides in a single month: There were 44 in December 1971 and 45 in August 1972.

But in that era, the city had approximately 908,000 residents–nearly 300,000 more than today.

Peter Moskos, a former Baltimore police officer who is an assistant professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, called May the city’s deadliest month ever based on the per-capita homicide rate.

Baltimore’s homicide rate per 100,000 population in May was 6.1–topping the rates in the early 1970s, Moskos wrote Friday on his “Cop in the Hood” blog.

“Put another way, even if no other people had been murdered in Baltimore before May, and even if no more people were killed from today until 2016, Baltimore would still have an above average annual homicide rate just based on the May killings,” Moskos wrote.


Some Baltimore officials have speculated that the spike in violence can be partly attributed to the looting of drugs from pharmacies during riots that followed the death of Freddie Gray.

During April’s riots, thousands of dollars in narcotics and other drugs were stolen from more than 20 Baltimore pharmacies. Twenty-seven pharmacies reported damage during the unrest.