President Trump’s recent remarks on police reform, he used Baltimore, Maryland as a prime example of the issues that police departments are experiencing. He does not want to strip police departments of their funding. The president believes that the departments need more assistance and greater access to the necessary resources.
One of the statistics that he cited was an alarming one. Of all the murders that took place in Baltimore last year, no arrests were being made. In most instances, the mainstream media will race to fact check the president when he makes claims like these. If you have noticed, they were not as quick to jump all over his case this time around.
CBS Baltimore issued a follow up report and once they took the time to check in on the Baltimore Police Department, they found that the president was telling the truth. Baltimore set a new record this past year for most murders, per capita. Like the president said, these murders are going unsolved in the majority of instances.
Their homicide clearance rate rests at just 31 percent. Because of these failures, the Baltimore police department has decided to invest more of their assets into these investigations. The homicide unit now has 14 brand new investigators. By taking the time to look more closely at their current failings, they are hoping to reduce the number of cases that are still open.
Baltimore City police confirmed the president’s statistic Tuesday saying they had a 31% homicide clearance rate, or rate of closing cases, in 2019.
A spokesperson said since Commissioner Michael Harrison arrived in 2019, the department has re-assessed assets and invested into the homicide unit, including 14 new investigators.
Now, the department is focusing on staffing and reduction in caseloads for homicide.
Additionally, the department is investing into accountability tools being put into place and the unit is building on Consent Decree policies and training.
Their efforts have been somewhat successful thus far. Through the first five months of the year, the clearance rate for homicide cases in the city has risen to 45 percent. It’s a major improvement over the 31 percent figure from before but there is so much more that needs to be done. It’s a dismal mark that still needs to be improved upon considerably.
The murder rate also tends to rise once the weather warms up and this must be taken into account. There are also those who wish to point out the factors that do not have anything to do with the police. If a murder takes place in a more sparsely populated area, it is easier for the police to narrow down the list of suspects. The more they can learn about a case that occurs in a more rural area, the better their chances of establishing a motive.
As for the murders that take place within city limits? Those are much tougher to find a motive for. If you cannot find out anything meaningful about the victim or the killer’s motivations, it’s hard to solve a murder case. The police can be handed all of the funding and resources in the world but it does not make a difference.
Police departments can track down information on their own but in many instances, they are only as effective as their informants. If there is no one who is willing to step up to the plate to offer the necessary information, the police can be limited in their ability to fight crime. The “stop snitching” mentality can cause any number of investigations to be stopped in their tracks.
Those who have spent enough time watching shows like HBO’s The Wire are sure to remember the retaliation that took place when citizens were willing to testify against the murderers responsible for polluting the streets with violence. The Baltimore police department is overwhelmed at the moment and the solutions are not as easy as anyone would like to think. President Trump is doing his best to understand the situation.
That’s the most that we can ask from any president. Baltimore will simply have to hope that their new mayor is able to get things under control. He’s vowing to be tougher on crime and for the sake of this city’s residents, we hope that he is right. With any luck, he will get the help that he needs from his federal government. We’re not going to be getting our hopes up anytime soon.