THE INTERACTIVE MAP BELOW SHOWS SHOOTINGS AND HOMICIDES SINCE MONDAY:
Both Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh and Interim Baltimore Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle spoke on Wednesday, and they attribute this uptick in crime to drug wars, illegal guns, and the lack of officers in the city.
"The common denominator is the demand for drugs in the city," Tuggle said at an afternoon press conference. "A number of these incidents are actually connected to one and other."
“There is a drug war taking place in our city. There are too many illegal guns continuing on the streets of our city," explained Pugh. The streets always talk, they always give you information, and there are at least seven different products being sold in West Baltimore. If you ride through you can hear ‘We got this, I got this, I got this’ and everyone is territorial. And so people are protecting their territories with guns.”
She says in the first couple months of the year Baltimore homicides were in a downward trend, 23 percent down compared to last year, the most deadly year in Baltimore history. Pugh says starting in September is when things started to get worse.
“I think it also begs the question, are we doing what we are doing in the first five months of this year? What has changed? And that is part of the conversation we are having at the violence reduction initiative.”
To combat the crime, Pugh says the Interim Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle has called the DEA and federal help to get more patrols on the streets, and she is calling this an "all hands on deck" situation.
Tuggle said he is temporarily shutting down administrative operations, a move that should add an additional 230 officers to the streets, making a total of 650 officers patrolling the city. Tuggle said the move feeds into his overall go of "civilianizing" many of those roles within the department.
Police spokesman Jeremy Silbert said the internal affairs, education and training, recruitment, homicide, citywide shooting, and citywide robbery units as unaffected by the staffing changes.
"We're putting those officers on the street," Tuggle said. "Every resident in the city of Baltimore deserves an effective police force. ... This level of violence is no more tolerable to us than it is to those residents."
While officials have yet to explain a solid plan, they say they are not giving up on getting Charm City back on track.
"And so I'm saying that to those who are out there, drug dealers, drug sellers, whoever you are, gun toters, it’s not acceptable, and so we will continue to fight to reduce this violence,” Pugh said.