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Baltimore crime rate: Making the city safe, not just safer

Our view: Baltimore's crime rate has dropped, but it remains among the nation's deadliest cities, a contradiction that underscores how difficult it will be to make the city safe

May 29, 2011

We may never have a simple explanation for what is driving the lower crime rates nationwide, just as we in Baltimore are left to baffle at the contradictions of our own situation. Crime is down, yet high. We are making gains but standing still. In the end, the question of whether we are a safe city is a matter of perspective. During Baltimore's decade of 300-plus murders a year, the prospect of crime rates as low as any since the 1970s would have sounded great. Likewise, it is hard to square the fretting in New York City over a jump of 65 murders between 2009 and 2010 with the fact that the total number of homicides there is less than a quarter of what it was in 1990.

And so the appropriate response to the new FBI numbers is neither to cheer our gains nor despair in our poor ranking but to continue the slow and difficult work of building a stronger community filled with greater opportunity for all. That, ultimately, is the only path toward making Baltimore a city that is safe, not just safer.

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