May is Baltimore's deadliest month since 1999

There are five days left in the month of May, but it is already the deadliest month in the city of Baltimore since 1999.

There have been 35 people have been murdered so far in this month, and over the holiday weekend alone, police say 29 people were shot, including a 9-year-old boy.

There have been 108 murders in the city this year compared to 75 murders at the same point of time last year.

"The uptick in violence is distressing and is disheartening, especially when you think about how far we have come," said Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. "I remain resolved to work with the police department and the community to get this under control. We can't tolerate this -- not at my level, not at the community level, not on any level.

"When I talk about how far we have come, we have made a lot of progress and this is a significant setback. But it will not be the end of the story of our efforts to perform as a police department nor will it be the end of our efforts to join together in strong partnership with the community to have safer neighborhoods."

Things have gotten so bad that the mayor and the police commissioner spent two hours over the weekend discussing the trouble and how to end it.

Harold Perry lives across the street from the housing project where Freddie Gray was arrested by Baltimore police last month. His corner rowhouse is now the home for a mural depicting the struggles of the black community.

The 74-year-old Perry said he is now seeing a lot less of the police.

"They don't come around," he said. "These guys are just standing on the corner. They are not being arrested by the police anymore. They stand and talk. Police used to run them. They are not running anymore."

Perry said the recent spike in violent crime has more to do with the community than the police.

"It's a shame that they are killing one another," Perry said. "But I don't think it all is involved with what is going on with the police. It's got to be something more to it than just that. You don't know what the young people are involved in."

Perry said this part of west Baltimore has no decent jobs or grocery stores and the people who are committing the crimes are not afraid to go to jail.

"These young kids don't have any fear of jail because jail is a source of security to them," he said.

However, he said Mayor Rawlings-Blake has not delivered.

"She's not doing anything," said Perry. "What she's saying -- ‘We are not going to tolerate?' What does she mean by ‘We are not going to tolerate?' What are you doing to combat it? How are you making it anything different for these kids, so you can make a statement like that?

"No, it's the same thing they go through, day in and day out, and yet she is still up there giving them ultimatums. Give them something to want to change."

Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts released a letter on Tuesday saying "working to rebuild and strengthen relationships between police and communities is not a short-term goal; it is a long-term lasting relationship. Our path to rebuild trust has started to see results."

Batts pointed out in the last 2 ½ years, more than 25 police department employees have been terminated as a result of misconduct and nearly 50 employees have been let go since Batts took over as commissioner. He also said their trial board process has a 91 percent conviction rate. Also, overall complaints to the Internal Affairs division are down to 14 percent this year.

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