Baltimore Police are taking a look at the way they fight violent crime, and in doing so, they're hoping that shifting some of their focus toward a certain type of crime will help.
In 2016, the city topped 300 homicides for a second straight year. Police noticed a trend: an uptick in the number of robberies and carjackings, which could also be driving the killing, they said Wednesday.
The first 11 days of the New Year have been violent, with nine homicides.
"Often times a motive in a homicide or a non-fatal shooting is a robbery," said deputy commissioner Dean Palmere.
The strategy, as announced by police, including chief of detectives Stanley Brandford and major Kim Burrus, commander of the departments citywide robbery unit, focuses on taking robbers and carjackers off the streets.
Police announced they've made arrests in three separate incidents that spanned a little more than a day.
Starting with a Giant grocery store in Hampden in the 1000 block of W 41st St., police said a person was robbed.
Police arrested Darian Allen, 27, Nathan Edwin Thomas, 28, and Bryan Beasley and charged them with armed robber, conspiracy to commit robbery and 1st and 2nd degree assault. Police said they were also responsible for a robbery that happened in the 3700 block of Falls Rd.
A replica gun was recovered.
In the 600 block of Homestead St., police said an Ace Hardwood store was robbed at gunpoint on Dec. 21 and Jan. 9. Both times, the same person was responsible, police said. They arrested Jawuan Jackson, 24, and charged him with two counts of armed robbery and two counts of theft.
After a search warrant was executed at Jackson's home, they recovered clothing the suspect was wearing when he robbed the hardware store, according to police.
A third incident occurred Wednesday night at about 9 p.m. in the 3900 block of Grantley Ave. Police said a male was carjacked when a white vehicle pulled up next to his car, three males approached the victim and said "give me your keys or I'll shoot you," according to police.
The victim complied and two suspects got into his vehicle and drove off, said police.
The vehicle was found in the 3000 block of Hollins Ferry Rd. a short time later. Officers tried to stop the vehicle when the two suspects got out of the vehicle before being arrested.
A 15-year-old was charged as a juvenile and Kendrick Jones, 17, was charged as an adult with armed robbery, stolen auto, possession of a deadly weapon and 2nd degree assault.
Similar arrests, police said, will help drive down violent crime.
"This is what drove violent crime in 2016, and it's unacceptable for it to continue to drive crime in 2017," Palmere said.
To help combat the increase in carjackings and robberies, police quadrupled the number of detectives working them.
"These people that have guns, that threaten people, could be the next murderers, and (then) we're talking about a family who lost their loved one," said Chief TJ Smith, head of the departments media affairs section.
Police said their strategy does not take away from their focus on homicides.