To the People

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or TO THE PEOPLE.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Battling the Flu and Urban Violence

I'm working on the former, Baltimore is working on the latter. The Baltimore Sun recaps the significant drop in murders in 2008:
Baltimore will end 2008 tonight with its fewest homicides in two decades, fighting through a late-year spike to mark one of its biggest year-to-year drops.

The decline - a drop of almost 50 killings, from 282 to 234 as of midnight - continues a trend that began in late 2007 when Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III took command of the Police Department. It restores the city's homicide total to levels not seen since the late 1980s, before an infusion of crack cocaine routinely drove the annual body count above 300.

But the improvement has been tempered by several confounding factors. While homicides and nonfatal shootings are down, violent crime overall is largely unchanged and Baltimore remains one of the most violent large cities in the country. The killing of a former city councilman also served as a sobering reminder that while the majority of the victims are involved in the drug trade, the city's crime problem touches all corners.
I'm about as pessimistic as anyone could be about turning around Baltimore (I firmly believe that until you deal with the war on drugs, or find another economic driver for the city besides the drug trade, the city can only make incremental progress), but credit is deserved for drastic reduction in violent crime over the last year or so; even with increases in other crimes. Reducing the stigma of an astronomically high murder rate is an important step for the city to make, I just question whether it lasts or not.

Full story here.

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