August ends with lowest homicide total in more than 30 years
The month of August concluded in Baltimore with 13 homicides, the lowest figure for that month since 1979, when Jimmy Carter was president and the city had 180,000 more people.
This month's victims included a Bhutanese refugee killed in a robbery, a 4-year-old girl whose mother has been arrested in her death, a 91-year-old woman killed in her home in Northeast Baltimore, and an IT professional from DC who was walking away from a confrontation at a bar when he was fatally stabbed.
Statistically, the total is significant relative to Baltimore's long struggle with crime. From 1999 to 2008, the city averaged more than 21 killings per month for every month but February. This year, the city has seen less than 20 killings in six of eight months, including four with 15 killings or less. There was a stretch of 18 days during which two people were killed, which is unheard of here.
Of course, 13 killings in a city like Boston or Atlanta would be a call to action. Baltimore's on pace for 200-plus homicides, which wouldn't budge the city from its top-five or six murder rate. To get to DC's murder rate for last year, for example, Baltimore would have to record less than 140 murders.
For the year, homicides are down about 5 percent, with 139 slain as of Thursday morning compared with 147 at this time last year. The year to date total is the lowest since this time at 1985.
And non-fatal shootings are down, too. For August, there were 34 non-fatal shootings, down from 43 last August. For the year, as of Aug. 20, the most recent data available, shootings were down to 254 from 267 at this point last year, a difference of about 5 percent.