Solutions are hard to come by. But everyone agrees that education and employment are key - to keep young men from ending up in prison, and to assist them when they are released.
There are numerous youth programs in Baltimore, but many are small and constantly struggling to find money.
Levin, of Northeastern University, said the federal government has cut funding for such efforts to finance the "War on Terror." Boston, a city roughly Baltimore's size but with only 75 homicides last year, had 11,000 summer jobs for youth in the 1990s, compared with 3,000 in Baltimore, he said.
FOR THE RECORD - An article in Sunday's editions mischaracterized two figures on crime in Baltimore. Violent crime as a whole in Baltimore in 2006 was down from 2005, but homicides increased by 2.6 percent, from 269 murders in 2005 to 276 in 2006.
THE SUN REGRETS THE ERROR
While parents, teachers and administrators hope to make schools sanctuaries amid the city's violence, students often don't see them that way. In a recent survey, a third of city students reported feeling unsafe in school, and a third reported feeling unsafe walking to and from school.
In April, a Calverton Middle School student was shot in the stomach walking by a park. In May, a Dunbar Middle School student was shot and critically wounded.
Another major problem is helping ex-convicts assimilate. Baltimore is home to more ex-offenders than any other jurisdiction in the state. A recent study by the Urban Institute of the Maryland Reentry Partnership Initiative found that its program "was successful in reducing criminal offending," but that it needs to be expanded.
For many, the crucial missing factor is jobs, especially the kind that once provided good pay without college degrees.
"There are no more Bethlehem Steels, no more Chevrolet manufacturing facilities," said Peter Angelos, Baltimore Orioles owner.
Several churches have begun to address the problem with urgency, organizing gun buybacks.
Citizens fight back
Many community groups are taking matters into their own hands, starting new Citizens on Patrol groups or beefing up existing ones. Groups such as the Guardian Angels have formed anew. Civic organizations are seeing renewed interest at meetings.
Such actions are especially pronounced in some of the city's Northeast neighborhoods, whose usual sense of serenity has been shattered this year. The increase in crime in Northeast Baltimore is unusual, said Bealefeld, of the Police Department. There have been 19 murders in the area in 2007, compared with eight at the same time last year. Shootings are up 53 percent.
Community action sometimes yields success. The HARBEL Community Organization in Northeast Baltimore fought against a Harford Road nightspot known as a catalyst for criminal activity, leading to the suspension of its liquor license.
Other residents just leave. A pharmacy student shot in the chest in Ridgely's Delight in March put her house up for sale. Her neighbor, Natalie Hall, 25, moved to her parents' home in Montgomery County and began commuting nearly two hours every day to and from her job at the Marriott Waterfront Hotel.
For others, crime helps make crucial decisions, such as whether to purchase a home.
In April, law school student Jason Shultz looked at an Ednor Gardens rowhouse he planned to buy. Some juveniles outside demanded that he and a friend give them their wallets and cell phones. When the men didn't fully comply, the boys began beating them until a neighbor yelled that the cops were coming. "You pull out the crime stats in that neighborhood, and I just didn't want to make that investment, which is a shame because it's a good neighborhood," said Shultz, 30.
While some can choose to move around within the city or outside it, others like 16-year-old Gregory Parks can only hope of having the same opportunity.
Drug dealing and crime are everyday occurrences in his West Baltimore neighborhood. Parks said he hopes his mentoring program through Black Professional Men will help pave his path to a college education and a career, his only real escape. For now, he educates himself on how to dodge the trouble that stands on every corner.
"I can't really avoid those places," he said. "But I know the quickest ways out, which alleys to run down and which ones to avoid."
The human cost of violence
Violence in Baltimore has torn through scores of families since the start of the year. Here are some of their stories. Reporting by Julie Turkewitz
THE INNOCENT BYSTANDER
After a stray bullet tore into Keonya Christian-Cannon on April 20 in West Baltimore, she spent a month in the hospital. Now, Keonya, 14, is living with relatives in Annapolis and plans to attend school in Bowie this fall. Meanwhile, her mother, Sheila D. Christian-Cannon, stays in the city to work and laments what has happened to her daughter:
"She can't go swimming because she has tubes in her stomach. I took her to the amusement park, but what can she do? Basically, she had to do what a toddler does and get on toddler rides. ... She's not happy, and this is something that she didn't cause."