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by Peter Moskos

September 24, 2009

Balto Murders

Baltimore is number two in murders, after Detroit. (Brings to mind that old t-shirt... you Baltimore cops know the one I'm talking about.)

Peter Hermann writes:
The 107 people charged with murder last year had accumulated a combined 1,065 prior arrests - 380 related to guns and 99 related to drugs.

The 234 people killed last year had a combined 2,404 prior arrests - 162 related to guns and 898 related to drugs.

That's an average of 10 arrests per suspect and 10.3 arrests per victim.
Police repeatedly complain that the people they put in handcuffs only return to the streets to do more harm. Here are the number of times some murder suspects and victims from last year had been arrested: 74, 71, 49, 40, 38, 34, 29. ... The list goes on.

These numbers don't say anything about conviction rates, and there's a sad tale behind each case, a book-length reason why someone can get arrested 74 times before dying on a street corner or get arrested 71 times before being charged with murder.

Many are hopelessly sick addicts arrested on petty charges, such as loitering, or involving small amounts of drugs, which tend to pile up but don't result in much jail time. Cases fall apart in Baltimore for a myriad of reasons that include an overwhelmed court system, distrust of police, jury nullification and witnesses and victims who are too scared or just don't care to testify.

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