Baltimore ranked 6th in murder rate in 2012

June 03, 2013|By Justin Fenton, The Baltimore Sun

The number of per-capita murders in Baltimore in 2012 ranked sixth in the country among cities with 100,000 people or more, according to data submitted by cities and released by the FBI on Monday. 

After dipping below 200 homicides in 2011 for the first time since 1978 - when Baltimore had nearly 200,000 more residents than today - the homicide count jumped to 219* last year. It was still the second-lowest population-adjusted murder rate since the late 1980s, and the city ranked the same as it did the year before.

The FBI cautions against ranking cities because of a variety of factors, such as density, that make comparisons difficult. For example, the boundaries of cities such as Baltimore and Washington, D.C., are drawn tightly around an urban core, where others' boundaries include wider suburban areas.

Still, the numbers show how cities stack up in the fight against violent crime both over time and compared with one another. As Detroit's population has tumbled, its murder rate has climbed from 37 per 100,000 in 2008 to more than 54 last year, surpassing New Orleans. The population figures below come from the FBI UCR publication.

Here's the top 10 cities for murder rate:
City                   Population      Murders per 100,000 people
1. Flint, Mich.         101,632       61.98
2. Detroit, Mich.     707,096        54.58
3. New Orleans     362,874        53.18
4. Jackson, Miss.   175,939        35.8
5. St. Louis, Mo.    318,667        35.46
6. Baltimore, Md.   625,474        35.01
7. Newark, N.J.       278,906        34.06
8. Oakland, CA.    399,487        31.54
9. Birmingham     213,266        31.42
10. Baton Rouge  231,500        28.5 

Chicago, which is consistently in the national headlines for its gun violence, ranked 16th with 18.46 murders per 100,000 people, behind cities like Cleveland, Memphis, Richmond, Va., and Atlanta, though it was second among cities with more than one million residents, behind Philadelphia (21.5). New York City's murder rate was 5 per 100,000 people.

In Baltimore, police statistics showed overall crime in 2012 was down about 5 percent from the previous year - amid a continued trend of fewer arrests, police said in January. Gun crime, meanwhile, fell 6 percent from the previous year, according to police data. 

*The number is two higher than what the city has reported to The Sun, and officials could not immediately explain the discrepency.

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