In the News 12/27/06

Sadly, murders in Baltimore have topped last year's totals. The police don't even try to deny that the #1 reason for these murders is the existence of the illegal drug trade.
Homicides in Baltimore passed the 2005 total over the holiday weekend, driven police said, by illegal drugs and by a street culture that stresses retribution over cooperation with police.


Police said more than 80 percent of the city's homicide victims and over 90 percent of the suspects charged with homicide had a criminal record. The average homicide victim had been arrested more than 8 times, most typically for drug offenses.
Wow, what a huge surprise. A new generation of heavily armed businessmen fighting for their own corner in one of the most lucrative markets in the world. The article continues:
"We're not backing away from fighting crime, but Commissioner Hamm, from the day he took office, has said we cannot arrest our way out." Jablow said. "What we are doing is a targeted, proactive enforcment that makes sure we get our worst offenders off of the streets."

Noting that the crimninal background of the typical homicide suspect is virtually identical to the criminal background of the typical victim, Jablow said much of the city's violence was fueled by the illegal drug trade.
Proactive enforcement means raiding drug corners, enforcing lifestyle arrests, and hoping that you get lucky and one of the random people you arrest is carrying something illegal or has a warrant out for their arrest. The police basically admit that they are beaten and unable to stop the violence in Baltimore.

Drug prohibition is destroying the city. Police lament the lack of cooperation they receive from those involved in the drug trade, but what do they expect? Drug traffickers exist in a lawless underground economy. They impose their own cutthroat rules and regulations in the absence of economic law and order.

Basically, the police can't help you get your package back if it is stolen. The police can't help you take your corner back, or arrest someone for stealing your illegal goods. Even mentioning involvement in drug trafficking to a police officer could mean an arrest. Drug traffickers are left to enforce their own system of "justice" which leaves Baltimore with 270 murders for the year (so far).

I must also remind my readers that there is no end in sight for this violence. It will only end when we re-evaluate our drug-policy. Until then, the illegal drug trade will suck the life out of our city, our state, and our nation. If anyone thinks there is another option for ending the cycle of violence in Baltimore City, I invite you to please leave a comment.

Of course, though officers admit that the illegal drug trade is the largest cause of violence in the city, they certainly don't plan on changing tactics or enforcement strategies. Instead, the police are busy bragging about the wonderful "EXILE" program, designed to reduce "gun crime". After reading the previous story, this program is clearly working wonders. I am sure that in a few more years, "gun crime" will be completely eliminated.

WAPO editors weigh in on the death penalty in Maryland.

And in other news (that illustrates the disconnect in priorities between Baltimore neighborhoods), folks in my neck of the city are concerned about a possible heli-pad being built at Union Memorial hospital. I live around 32nd and Guilford, so I guess things might get a bit noisier.


Bruce Godfrey said...

I am with you re: criminalization of drugs. One of the biggest promoters of crime is the fact that witnesses involved in victimless crime A have no shield against self-incrimination if they come forward thefts or violent crimes B, C, and D. It's why prostitutes get robbed and slashed (also because it's economically, though not physically, safer not to work out of a so-called bawdy house with a fixed address.)

Bruce Godfrey said...

sorry, "...on thefts or violent crimes B, C or D...."