14 city homicides reported in August

Police work credited with drop from July total of 29

September 04, 2002|By Del Quentin Wilber | Del Quentin Wilber,SUN STAFF

Baltimore recorded 14 homicides last month -- a substantial drop in killings from the previous month and the fewest people slain in August since 1979, when 12 were killed.

Police officials yesterday attributed the dip last month to increased patrols and redeployment of officers into high-crime areas, and to undercover drug operations.

The announcement of last month's total comes as the city approaches another benchmark.

When he took office, Mayor Martin O'Malley pledged to reduce the city's homicide total to 175 or fewer by the end of this year. Through yesterday, 171 homicides had occurred in Baltimore this year, compared with 165 over the same period last year.

It is unclear whether the drop in August represents a trend because monthly homicides totals usually fluctuate.

In January, the city recorded 19; the number dipped to 17 in February. In March, 25 people were slain. Twenty-two people were killed each month in April, May and June. In July, 29 people were killed.

In 2001, the city experienced similar jumps. In July, for example, 10 people were killed, the fewest during that month since 1984.

But homicides increased during the last three months of the year. The city finished 2001 with 256 killings -- five fewer than in 2000 and 49 fewer than in 1999.

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