Home / U.S. / To reverse the homicide rate, Baltimore adopts a controversial police strategy

To reverse the homicide rate, Baltimore adopts a controversial police strategy



What makes a city ruined by crime if its most effective strategy against armed violence has also fueled accusations of abuse and corruption?

The answer, in Baltimore, is to try again ─ but this time, with more care.

Frustrated by the city's stubbornly high homicide rate ─ including a record setting of 2017 ─ Mayor Catherine Pugh fired her police commissioner on Friday and replaced him with a Baltimore policeman who promised to expand the previous efforts of " police surveillance ". [19659004] Rates of killings per 100,000 people last year in selected cities ” title=””/>


  Rates of killings per 100,000 people last year in selected cities

Baltimore, along with many other US cities, has a complicated relationship with tactics, that involves flooding-crime neighborhoods with officers who focus on the most violent or chronic offenders. It has been shown to curb armed violence, but at a high price.

The Baltimore version of the hot spots police has forced the city to reach costly settlements with people claiming violations of their civil rights, as documented by The Baltimore Sun. One unit, called the Gunfight Task Force, turned out to be corrupt. And a detective who planned to testify against members of that unit was shot dead in November. That case remains unsolved.

Related: Baltimore Detective Sean Suiter dead one day before testimony in case of police corruption

But in his new emphasis on police surveillance, Baltimore is being watched by the federal government. The police department, under threat of a civil rights complaint by the Department of Justice, promised to change the way it operates, as a result of an investigation that began with the death of Freddie Gray in April 2015 for injuries suffered while he was in police custody. The death of Gray unleashed riots in the city, which were followed by a federal investigation documenting a pattern of unconstitutional arrests and searches that eroded trust in neighborhoods suffering the worst violence.




  Image: An officer walks behind a police line near the scene of a shooting

An officer walks behind a police line near the scene of the shooting death of the Baltimore Police detective Sean Suiter in Baltimore, on November 17, 2017.