Baltimore City reports lowest homicide rate in 30 years

Baltimore City leaders say while the numbers still aren't where they want them, they have made progress that they say should be celebrated. There have been 17 fewer homicides and 45 fewer non-fatal shootings compared to this time last year.
 
"I am encouraged but not satisfied," Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said. 
 
Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts pointed to the Belair-Edison neighborhood as an example of the department crime prevention tactics at work. 
 
"We've seen a 29 percent reduction in violence in this zone. We've seen total crime reduced by 25 percent. We've had no homicides. We've had no shootings. We are going in the right direction and we will continue," Commissioner Anthony Batts said. 
 
Community engagement specialist Will Smith agrees with both the mayor and the police commissioner that improving relationships between the police and the community is the key.
 
"Like anything else, we have to continue to build a relationship, learn from the negatives and build on the positives," Smith said.
 
Major Richard Worley offered from his own personal experience, "I send out emails to the community all the time and I back them up. When somebody calls 911, we make a quality arrest, I send an email and say look this 911 call lead to these arrests and it empowered the community and I get more and more requests each day to add people to that email chain." 
 
Leaders say the other focus is on violent repeat offenders, the small number of people responsible for the majority of crime in the city, and their associates. 
 
"We will not be satisfied until Baltimore becomes one of the safest big cities in America. A place where residents, regardless of where they live, regardless of their zip code, feel safe in their neighborhoods," Rawlings-Blake said. 
 
Batts said at the end of the year, they will be graduating about 65 officers, which would give them one of the biggest forces they have had in recent years. 
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