Baltimore we have a problem!
And I’m not talking about police excessive force or the shooting of unarmed black men.
The numbers are startling.
In just 72 hours, this past Memorial Weekend 29 people were shot, 7 were killed.
This month is the city’s deadliest in more than a decade, since 1999.
There have been 108 homicides so far this year, up 40 percent from last year.
City officials are dumbfounded to say the least.
The mayor says it’s disheartening.
The Police Chief Anthony Batts blames, in part, the recent unrest.
“Officers tell me and their supervisors, any time they pull up to respond to a call, they have 30 to 50 people surrounding them. We have to send in multiple units just to do basic police work, which says we have to work on community engagement.”
Batts has added more officers and presence in the Western District where most of the violence is occurring but so far it hasn’t helped.
“It makes it very difficult to follow up on violence that takes place there,” he said. “Clearly, they’re not holding back. They’re getting to those locations and getting surrounded. You have many citizens with hand-held cameras that they’re sticking in the faces of officers, an inch off the officer’s face.”
The real story however may not be anything Batts or the Mayor want to admit.
Arrests numbers are plummeting while the murder rate is surging.
Listen to a part of this report from my CNN colleague Miguel Marquez.
The officer’s voice is disguised for fear of retribution.
Miguel – “And morale? Where is morale for police officers?”
Officer – “It’s in the sewers. It’s down. It’s the worse of the worse I’ve ever seen in my career.”
The officer told Miguel the spike in murders and gun crime was the direct result of a coordinated police work slowdown.
Miguel – “Why do you think there is a great increase in the crime rate and the number of shootings in this town?”
Officer – “Officers stopped being proactive.