Rise in robberies and carjackings in Baltimore City in 2016

Posted at 8:28 PM, Jan 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-05 20:45:40-05

2016 was a violent year in charm city. Shootings were up and so were the amount of people being brutally robbed.

"Pulled her out of the car, slammed her on the ground, and punched her in the face," Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said back in December.

Preliminary, year-end crime statistics released this week shows there was a 16 percent bump in robberies citywide last year.  That includes more people being victimized on the streets, an increase in folks having things stolen from their homes, and a spike in carjackings.

"The recidivism rate is high and it's the same people committing the same crimes, and that's what we're seeing in some of these types of violent acts," said Baltimore Police chief T.J. Smith back in October.

Seeing the numbers trend up all year prompted police to add additional resources to the robbery unit.  Last month, Davis announced the department quadrupled the total detectives working robbery cases.

"To ensure that we have a bigger, better, more strategic focus on all types of robbery, whether its carjacking, whether it's residential, whether it's a citizen robbery, or whether it's a commercial robbery," Davis said in December.

According to the Baltimore City Police Union, there are now 45 detectives working in the robbery unit.

Still, from 2015 to 2016, carjackings surged 43 percent across the cityOne reason for the increase, officers say modern, parked cars are harder to steal without keys.      

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Back in October, investigators said they were linking crimes and following patterns, flagging hotspots for criminals.

"Individuals that were committing armed robberies and carjackings in the Southern District were ultimately taking those vehicles down to the Cherry Hill area,” Baltimore City Police Deputy Commissioner Jason Johnson said.

One hijacked SUV was even caught by City Watch cameras being driven to Cherry Hill.          

Carjackings and robberies are a city-wide problem, but the numbers are the highest in the Southern District.  Last year, swiped vehicles were up 205 percent in that part of the city. Additionally, there were nearly 700 robberies, a 45 percent increase.

"We do know that suspects use stolen autos to commit other crimes,” said Baltimore police commander of district detective section, Major Kimberly Burrus said in October. “So the demand for stolen autos still exists."  

Another trend police had an eye on last year was the disproportionate amount of young criminals committing robberies.  They were seeing groups of teens and young adults in and out of the system. 

For 2016, juvenile robbery arrests were also up 30 percent.

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