By now, you should already know that Baltimore City is imploding on itself. The housing market has stalled, millennials are trapped in overpriced rowhomes, and widespread violent crime has taken over the region.
The deteriorating situation in Baltimore is nothing new. It started in the late 1950s when deindustrialization began, and white flight of the 1960s/70s/80s sent hundreds of thousands of Baltimoreans packing their bags for the suburbs. From the late 1950s to let’s say today, the city’s population has collapsed from 960,000 to around 600,000.
The city is a hollow out shell of something that was great, and also is an accurate depiction of our country at the moment.
Violent crime in the city spiked during the 1980s and surged even more during the crack epidemic of the 1990s. But a revival was in the making by the mid-2000s (violent crime dipped and a housing boom began), it was the millennials, who picked up the broken baton and wanted to revive Baltimore.
Then the 2008 financial crisis hit, almost forced the city into bankruptcy, but overall, violent crime stayed somewhat low.
Then the explosion of legal opioids flooded the streets after 2009, giving anyone and everyone with back pain a script for oxycontin. Since the residents were mostly low-income, many couldn’t afford another script once their pills ran out, so they turned to the corner, and that is when the opioid crisis flourished.
From 2012 through 2019, gang wars, turf wars, and anything else you can imagine unfolded onto the streets. Homicides started to soaring from 2012 to 2014.
Then 2015 came in with a literal bang, riots exploded across the city after a young black male was found dead in the back of a police van, allegedly suffered neck injuries during transport. For several weeks, the National Guard was called in to stabilize the city. Local, state, and federal officials don’t want to admit it, but Baltimore experienced martial law in those dark days.
Since 2015, murders have been over 300 per year and could be on track for record levels by year-end.
Homicides this year alone are up 12% to 272, compared with the same period last year.
Nonfatal shootings have soared 22% over the period to 634, according to Baltimore City Police figures.
On a per-capita basis per 100,000, Baltimore City has the highest murder rate in the entire country. Mix that in with an opioid crisis, and you can see the dangerous cocktail that is sending Baltimore to its knees, begging for mercy as it implodes on itself.
You know it’s funny how President Trump touts the black community for tremendous economic progress over the last several years. But, we’re here to say it’s easy for the government’s statisticians to make up numbers. The homicides and out of control crime in Baltimore, an overwhelmingly black city, should be an accurate bellwether for the black community in the US — and so far, the news coming out of Baltimore shows disaster.
Even with the national murder rate falling for the second straight annual year in 2018 — Baltimore’s homicide crisis still managed to accelerate.
This year will likely be the fourth year of homicides in the city over the 300 mark, and if violent crime continues, record homicides could be seen by year-end.
Baltimore City is several decades from a meaningful change that could revive its community from near-death. But there’s no clear guidance on direction; after all, there are no policies in place that outline a roadmap for recovery.