If asked to choose which city—out of Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans, New York, St. Louis and Washington, D.C.—had the highest per capita homicide rate, most people would say Chicago. But in fact, Baltimore has 20.2 homicides per 100,000 people, topping the 18.0 for New Orleans. In 2017 to date, there have been 124 homicides in the so-called Charm City.
Baltimore has been experiencing a spike in violent crime since 2015, when Freddie Gray died in police custody. The rioting and protesting that followed turned that year into the deadliest in the city’s history, with 344 homicides. In 2016, 318 people were murdered, making it the second-worst year for homicides. Now, The Washington Postreports that Baltimore is on pace to set another record in 2017.
“People don’t realize it’s worse than Chicago,” said Otis Rolley, a former city planning director. Baltimore is similar to Chicago in more ways than one—but most importantly, both share strict gun control laws. With all Maryland state residents having to abide by an archaic law requiring them to prove a “good and substantial” reason for needing to carry a concealed gun, one look at the latest stats should provide the only reason needed.