By Luke Broadwater
The two homicides increased this month’s total to 35. There have been 108 homicides across the city this year.
“It’s deplorable,” said City Councilman William “Pete” Welch. “The shootings and killings are all over the city. I don’t think any part of the city is immune to this. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is “disheartened and frustrated by this continuing violence, particularly when you think about the progress that the city has made,” said her spokesman, Howard Libit.
The mayor met for nearly two hours Sunday with Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts and members of his command staff about adjustments police are making. “She is confident that the steps being taken by the Police Department will quell this latest uptick in violence,” Libit said.
Batts wrote a letter to community leaders and elected officials Monday, telling them he has reassigned “several veteran leaders” to the city’s Western District, including a new commander and captain. He said he’s asking officers to maintain “a visible and consistent presence” in the community. He also assigned Lt. Col. Melvin Russell, who commands the Police Department’s Community Partnership Division, to work out of the Western District to improve relations with residents.
In the letter, Batts said the city is “in the midst of a challenging time. … Please be assured that the Baltimore Police Department is moving aggressively to both address the increase inviolence, as well [as] to modernize and better equip ourselves for the future.”