AFRO Wednesday 07-15-20151

Former Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts has been removed. The question is will this make Baltimore safer and eliminate the violent crime spree we are now enduring?

Murders, not to mention regular shootings, have skyrocketed since the uprisings following the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody in late April. Businesses damaged by the subsequent uprising are still struggling to recover. Couple that with the widespread perception, true or not, that the police have been ordered to ratchet down enforcement in some of the neighborhoods most in need of it and you have a toxic brew of distrust and danger.

As the summer wears on, 24 people have already been killed this month, putting the city on pace to surpass the record number—42—killed in May. This is madness and cannot continue. But will the dismissal of Batts really make a difference?

No!

We are not that quick to lay all the blame for Baltimore’s current state at the feet of the former commissioner.

The root causes of the continued violence in Baltimore are still hotly debated topics. There is no clear answer to what we are currently witnessing in Baltimore. In our opinion, the inner frustrations; not only with the police force, but also with the other social inadequacies that Baltimore continues to suffer from, all have a role in the chaotic crime orgy we are witnessing this summer. More jobs for Baltimore’s citizens, and more community centers for the Baltimore youth population would be a few good beginnings.

Interim Police Commissioner Kevin Davis has been on the job only a few days so it is too soon to judge how he is doing. Steps like setting up a “War Room” to quickly deal with clusters of crime, is not a new strategy, but we hope it will produce some positive results instead of simply turning Baltimore, once again, into another east coast ‘Zero Tolerance’ police state.