A community-led “ceasefire” coincided with the lull in violence
Balimore Ceasefire, a grassroots effort to reduce violence in the city, one weekend at a time, has played no small part in keeping the peace.
The group’s coordinator, Erricka Bridgford told the Sun, ““I am losing my mind thrilled. It’s really exciting,” she said. “Baltimore deserves this boost of love.”
Bridgford remains cautious, though, acknowledging that shootings have continued to take place in the city. During these 11 days there have been five nonfatal shootings, including three on Saturday.
Since a surge or prolonged violence began in 2015, the longest period of days without a homicide was almost eight, starting in February of 2017.
The longest period consecutive without a homicide was in March of 2014, when no murders were committed for 17 days in a row.
While it is not clear what factors contributed to the surge in violence in Baltimore, the rioting that took place after 25-year-old Freddie Gray died while in police custody, was seen as a catalyst.
That year the city saw 344 murders, and the city has seen this violent trend continue. In 2017, 343 killings were recorded, resulting in the city’s highest ever annual homicide rate of 56 murders per 100,000 people.
The violence, which largely involves young, black men and boys, but which has caught innocent bystanders and children in its crosshairs, has been connected to gangs and the illegal drug trade in the city.
“The vast majority of our kids and residents of this city aren’t into criminal activity like this. It’s that same revolving group of bad guys that are wreaking havoc for people’s families,” T.J. Smith, the chief police spokesman whose own younger brother was the city’s 173rd homicide victim in 2017, told CBS News.
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