Baltimore officials admit change in policing led to higher murder rate

Baltimore's state attorney and the city's police commissioner told the Baltimore Sun that the change in police tactics following the riots that broke out after the death of Freddie Gray in 2015 has led to a skyrocketing murder rate.

Daily Caller:

Baltimore is currently struggling with one of its highest murder counts in years, something that could have been influenced by a change in policing tactics, State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby and Police Commissioner Kevin Davis implicitly acknowledged in an exclusive interview with the Baltimore Sun Wednesday.

Years ago, the city had tamped down on the violence and brought the homicides down to less than 200 in a year by using "heavy handed police tactics" that are now frowned upon, the two noted in the interview.

"There was a price to pay…that manifested itself in April and May of 2015," Davis said, alluding to the Baltimore riots over Freddie Gray. "I think the long view is that doing it the right way is doing it the hard way, and I think most Baltimoreans realize that the way forward is not always going to be easy."

The Baltimore Police Department came under scrutiny and heavy criticism after Freddie Gray died in police custody in 2015. A Department of Justice investigation into the police department found that the officers routinely performed unconstitutional stops, arrests, used excessive force and attributed the problems to "systemic deficiencies" in the department's training, policies and supervision.

Baltimore is currently on track to reach 300 homicides for the year. The city's mayor, Catherine Pugh, released a crime plan earlier this month that uses a more holistic approach to fighting the violence. Pugh's plan includes making Baltimore Community College free for high school students, hiring more officers, improving the training of police officers and helping rehabilitate drug addicts.

The subtext is unmistakable: authorities would rather avoid riots than prevent murder.  What has happened in cities like Baltimore and Chicago is that the tactical deployment of police has drastically changed.  Not only have patrols in high-crime areas been reduced, but officers, fearing the consequences of police brutality charges, have voluntarily cut back drastically on routine policing  tactics that used to take violent criminals off the street.

Yes, but at least there aren't any riots.

There has to be a happy medium between police brutality and current police practices.  But Mosby and Davis are not interested in finding a middle road.  They fear the political consequences of a riot more than they want to protect residents from violent thugs.