BALTIMORE — As we close out the year, WMAR-2 News is taking a closer look at crime in Baltimore City.
Criminologist Jeffrey Ian Ross, at the University of Baltimore, says there are several reasons for the high number of homicides in the city.
"Most homicides take place among people who know each other," he says. "And in Baltimore, a lot of the homicides are connected to gang activity, which is connected to drug transactions or some other kind of illegal activity. So there's often competition over that economic sphere. Add to that, a increase in the number of guns, both legal and illegal, that are in the hands of people."
Mayor Brandon Scott, in a one-on-one interview with WMAR-2 News' Kendall Green, said he's angry.
"I am pissed off at the amount of violence that we've had, especially with homicides this year," said Scott. "I understand the growing and the changing dynamic behind that."
Ross says, it's not necessarily a problem that the government alone can solve.
"[The government]'s not the only group that should take some sort of responsibility," he says. "We have the public education system, we have the religious community, we have community leaders - and they can take a lead, have a role."
He argues that a comprehensive and ongoing study, that delves into what is driving crime in the city is what's needed - so that city change makers can better understand and address the root issues.
"Many people are under the delusion to that implementing a new law, better law, stiffer penalties, all those sorts of things, that that's going to somehow lead to a decrease in crime are really fooling themselves, because crime does not operate that way," argues Ross.
We took a look at the data that is available, through the Baltimore City Police Department's website, to better understand and visualize what crime is happening in the city.
We did ask Ross about the Mayor's Violent Crime Reduction plan, but he was only able to skim it while speaking with us.
His initial response, "my impression is that it is, as the mayor suggests, comprehensive, and it does look realistic. And it may the ability to reduce the amount of crime, violent crime and murder happening in the city of Baltimore, the question becomes his implementation. And the devil is always in the details."