A violent April in Baltimore left 34 people dead, after it looked like murders in the city were slowing down, WJZ-TV reported.
“All across the country, people are looking at Baltimore in a negative light because of the violence. This is a great city and it’s a shame,” Dr. Rev. Andre Humphrey, founder of the Baltimore Trauma Response Team, told WJZ.
The city marked a milestone in February, when 12 days passed before a single murder was reported. But since then, violence has started to surge.
“One crime scene after the other scattered across city streets is a familiar dread that has returned to Baltimore,” the station reported.
What is the cause?
According to police, much of the violence was linked to two rival groups retaliating against each other, the report stated.
“These groups go back and forth and they send a powerful message and don’t care who they harm,” Humphrey said. “The judicial system knows who these violent, repeat offenders are and they keep letting them back out on the streets.”
Some of the crimes involved:
● The execution of a mother and daughter in their West Baltimore home.
● A woman shot who was shot in the head while being carjacked in Highlandtown.
● A 61-year-old man who was left paralyzed after he was shot while returning home from church.
Mayor Catherine Pugh told the TV station that the city's overall crime figures are improving.
“Violence is still down," Pugh said. "I think the commissioner said last week it’s two groups going back and forth. So our intelligence is telling us what’s going on, but the violence is trending downward."
What is the solution?
Humphrey believes the numbers will improve if different approaches are taken with mental health and children are shown more love at an early age.
“If these kids aren’t shown any love by their parents or don’t have a mentor, they don’t know love,” Humphrey said. “Therefore, they won’t think twice about harming someone. I’m getting with other clergy and trying to speak with these kids. I don’t care if you’re black, white, Jewish, Hispanic — we need men to step up in this city and be father figures for these kids.”
There are also concerns that crime figures could rise even higher as summer sets in.
“There’s hope, there’s hope," Humphrey said. "But people have to want to hope. They have to want change. We have the resources in this city. They’re right in front of us."
On Wednesday, a body was found as crews demolished a vacant home in Baltimore. The incident is still under investigation, the report said.