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Taking a closer look at Baltimore's map, past and present

Vacancies, redlining and homicides - mapping out the City of Baltimore
Posted: 6:12 PM, Jan 31, 2022
Updated: 2022-04-04 16:47:52-04
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BALTIMORE — With Mayor Brandon Scott announcing plans to address vacant buildings in the City after a deadly fire, we decided to take a deeper look at where these vacant houses are in the city.

In digging into this data, we also looked at median household income, homicides so far this year and historic redlining.

Here's what we found:

There's a lot of data here, so let's break it down.

This map shows homicides recorded by Baltimore Police in 2022. This includes two people who were injured in prior years and either died of their injuries this year or their death was declared a homicide this year.

RELATED: January 2022 Daily Tracker: Baltimore murders and shootings

As the map shows, many of the homicides in January of 2022 happened in places where there was a large cluster of vacant homes.

The map shows the more than 15,000 vacant homes tracked by the Baltimore City Department of Housing and Community Development as of January 31, 2022.

We also have a layer that includes the current borders of the City Council districts. If you hover or select any of those districts, you can find the city council member, and their contact information.

We've also got a layer showing the HOLC grades. This data comes from a project called Mapping Inequality, from Richmond University. HOLC stands for the Home Owners' Loan Corporation, which in the late 1930s would grade neighborhoods based on perceived mortgage risk.

The highest grades were given to neighborhoods deemed to have the lowest risk of defaulting on loans, where the lowest grade, D, was for neighborhoods perceived to have higher risk.

RELATED: Building generational wealth in Baltimore

These grading systems would explicitly take into account the racial makeup of a neighborhood, and if there was a high concentration of Black residents, or likely to be Black residents moving in, that would reflect in a neighborhood's grade.

HOLC map of Baltimore's neighborhoods from 1935

The practice of coloring the Black neighborhoods red, denying homeowners there fair loans and disincentivizing investment in those areas has become known as 'redlining.'

And as we can see in our current map, repercussions from nearly a century ago continue to impact our city today.