Residents of Baltimore, Md., are starting to see something new: Open-air markets for controlled substances, sold largely without worry of police intervention. This phenomenon is the result of widespread looting of drugstores that put prescription medications into the hands of dealers, combined with a police force that has taken a less proactive role in the face of national scrutiny and criticism.
According to the head of the Philadelphia office of the Drug Enforcement Administration, a spike in supply has driven down prices for hard drugs such as heroin, and dealers have in many cases moved out of secluded alleys to conduct their business on city streets. The surge in sales is also driving turf wars between gangs, thought to be a major cause of the city’s climbing homicide rate. While many in the nation continue to attack our police, Baltimore residents are increasingly trapped in an environment where crime is the new norm.