According to data from Maryland’s Open Data portal and yearly Uniform Crime Reports (UCR), Maryland’s overall crime rate steadily declined between 2010 and 2020. However, homicides in the state increased to a ten-year high of 573 in 2020, a nearly 35% increase from 2010. The largest year-to-year increase occurred in 2015 when homicides rose to 553, a 52% increase from the previous year.

While some attribute the uptick in homicides to individuals carrying more firearms as their distrust in police officers grew, others attribute it to the aftermath of the deaths of Freddie Gray in 2015 and George Floyd in 2020. The protests following Floyd’s murder led to a breakdown in community trust, making people less likely to report crimes or give information about solving them. This resulted in individuals taking the law into their own hands, leading to gun violence surging in Baltimore.

Of the 573 murders reported in 2020, only 47% resulted in an arrest, according to Maryland’s Uniform Crime Report. Baltimore City alone accounted for 334 homicides, 58% of the state’s reported homicides that year. “Freddie Gray was Baltimore’s George Floyd,” said Dr. Joseph Richardson, the Joel and Kim Feller Endowed Professor of African American studies and Medical Anthropology at the University of Maryland.

Rape cases also increased between 2010 and 2020, according to UCR data for Maryland. Rape and sexual assault reports increased to 1,891 in 2020, a 54% increase from 2010, after peaking to 2,106 in 2018, according to UCR data for Maryland.

However, this statistic shows a “good sign,” according to Lydia Watts, the Executive Director of the Rebuild, Overcome And Rise Center (ROAR), which provides services to survivors of crime, violence, and harm at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. She said, “Rape is such an underreported crime that what I take from that is the numbers of recorded rapes have increased, hopefully, as a result of better policing.”

Most property crimes declined each year between 2010 and 2020, according to UCR data for Maryland. Property crimes, specifically breaking or entry and larceny-theft, comprise the majority of total crimes compared to other property and violent crimes. Crime experts are often skeptical of statistics because crime rates are simply crimes reported to and discovered by police, not all crimes committed.

Experts suggest that additional contexts, such as poverty and the lack of funding in local schools, is also needed to understand why homicides are persistent in Baltimore. In any case, homicides increased in Maryland despite the decline in overall crime, raising questions about the effectiveness of law enforcement in the state.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/EditorEditor-in-Chief

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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