Baltimore has the nickname of “Bodymore, Murderville” because of a high rate of homicide and the habit of the locals spray painting the slogan on abandoned buildings. The other “slogan” you see around the city is a re-write of a marketing campaign run by the city a few years back. The pols had the idea of putting the word “Believe” on everything, so the more clever changed it to “Behave” which gets to the heart of the issue. The city has a huge population of people who cannot behave themselves like civilized people.
Currently the city is on pace for over 360 murders and we are just getting into peak killing season. Usually, the winter tamps down the murder rates as it is just not as much fun to pop a cap in an ass when it is snowing sideways. Similarly, the spring has been very rainy and gangsters tend not to like going out to murder people for their sneakers when it is raining. In other words, it’s possible there is a lot of pent up demand for murder that will now be unleashed with the summer weather.
To put this in context, Boston has about 650,000 residents. People think the city is much bigger, but that’s because of the surrounding cities and towns bunched in next to Boston give the feel of a much larger metropolis. Baltimore is around 600,000 people, if the census is correct, which no on thinks is true. Baltimore has a strong incentive to overstate their numbers as they get more Federal money as a result. Boston is on pace for about 40 murders this year, while Baltimore will have 350.
With that in mind, the city has put the cops on extra duty, allowing for overtime as a way to tell the cops they are sorry for the Freddie Gray fiasco. The official position of the politicians and our Progressive masters is that the Obama administration’s war on cops had nothing to do with the explosion of black homicide. People on the streets know better, but no one cares what they think. Either way, the city’s decision to make a peace offering to the cops suggests they are ready to stop pretending.
The precipitating issue was the murder of a white bartender in one of the nice parts of the city. Long ago, Baltimore pretty much invented the idea of gentrification. Mayor William Donald Schaefer had a dream of fixing his city so he condemned a bunch of houses in and around the waterfront and gave them away to urban pioneers. The one condition was they had to fix them up and live in them. The result was some very nice neighborhoods for young professionals and older people who enjoy city living.
The way the city has managed to keep these nice neighborhoods alive is by having the police keep the blacks in their ghettos. No one says it like that, but that’s the way it worked. They used good old fashioned racial profiling to make sure the homies stayed on the West side and the gentry class whites stayed out of West Baltimore. Local whites will tell you that they have been pulled over by cops when they decided to take a shortcut through the ghetto. The assumption being that they were lost or stupid.
Whether or not the cops can restore something resembling order is hard to know. The lesson the Left never learns is that society is a fragile thing. It’s quite easy to destroy the delicate balance that allows for a safe and civilized city. Topple it over and not only does all hell break loose, but restoring order requires a massive effort. It’s pushing a rock up a hill. If all goes well, your massive effort will get the rock to the top, but one mistake and the rock rolls down to the bottom and you have nothing to show for your efforts.
There’s also the fact that the supporting institutions in the city are always a mistake away from collapse making the job more difficult. The city prison system is just an extension of the ghetto. This was an outlandish example, but it is so common that everyone just accepts it. There are services to help black inmates stay in touch with their friends back in the neighborhood. It’s easy to see why cops and judges get a bit cynical about the system. They know that no one really wants to fix the problems.
There is, of course, the ever present issue of race. You would think that a city like Baltimore, and the surrounding environs, would be teaming with racism. After all, the overwhelming majority of the murders are done by blacks against other blacks. Of the 159 murders, 12 victims were white. In a city that is 60% black, 90% of the victims will be black and 95% of the perpetrators will be black. According to the myths of our age, the Backlash™ from the whites should make life a living hell for innocent blacks.
The opposite is true. Most whites have become habituated to the reality of life in this part of the world. Everyone, white and black, knows the reality on the street. The blacks with anything on the ball do exactly like the whites and that’s put distance between themselves and the black ghetto. That does not stop the Progressive maniacs from ranting about racism, but they do it from high up in the towers of their whites-only neighborhoods. As a result, no one hears them and so they can be ignored.
Interestingly, blacks tend to think of Baltimore as a good city for them. Number play a role as the city is close to 60% black, but that just means there is a thriving black social life, which is not the case in most cities. For the well-behaved blacks, there are black middle-class neighborhoods in the suburbs where they can be around other well-behaved blacks. The irony here is that while we have some of the worst blacks in America, we also have some of the best blacks, too. White people like that. it gives them hope.