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Commander: Gangs Involved in North Baltimore Crime Spike

The Northern District has experienced a 100 percent increase in the number of homicides.

It’s been a rough year fighting crime in Baltimore’s Northern District.

But Maj. Sabrina Tapp-Harper said the spike in violent crime in North Baltimore can largely be blamed on the activity of gangs.

"We suspect that there’s some involvement from BGF [Black Guerrilla Family] and the Bloods, but [I’m not] being any more specific than that right now. We’re just really keeping an eye on these players," Tapp-Harper said.

Entering the last month of the year, the district has already experienced more than double the homicides last year and nearly twice the three-year average.

According to the latest available Comstat figures, which were updated through Saturday, the district has suffered 24 homicides this year compared to 12 last year. Between 2009 through 2011 the district averaged 13 homicides a year.

The increase in homicides is not the only disturbing jump in crime this year in the Northern District. Shootings, which former Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld often said was the true measure of the city’s violence, are up by 31 percent.

Also the number of total robberies in the district have shot up 15 percent from the previous year. A large portion of that increase can be attributed to the 120 percent increase in commercial robberies in the district.

In total, part one crime—the most serious crimes committed—is up in the district 2 percent year to date.

Despite the sharp rise in violent crime, Tapp-Harper said an initiative from recently appointed Police Commissioner Anthony Batts to put more administrative officers on the street has been a big help, and that she expects things to get better heading into the new year.

"I’m pretty optimistic that we have a handle on it and I’ll really expect that we’ll have some improvements," Tapp-Harper said.

But Councilman Bill Henry, who represents North Baltimore along the Greenmount Avenue and York Road corridor where much of the violent crime has occurred, said the police department's power to stop crime only goes so far.

He said the city needs to focus on the upbringing of its youth. 

"At the end of the day we need to stop raising criminals and that is the point I won’t let go of," Henry said.

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A Goodie December 04, 2012 at 12:22 PM
I agree with Bill Henry that is why there are organizations like Acts4Youth. They take a proactive approach investing in boys in North Baltimore.
Kerry Craven December 04, 2012 at 01:06 PM
Gee, I am happy to see that someone is acknowledging the increase in the ND......in Hampden alone last month it was reported that we had over 428 calls to 311.......Although I had voiced my opinion about the increase in crime and the lack of the city's ability to update statistics and their citizens with the most violent crime, by phone, directly to the Majors and Deputy Majors at the ND, I was told that there's no miscommunication, things are being done well......I disagree. The increase in crime at least here in Hampden is largely due to the influx of NON residents to the Methadone clinic on Falls Road......many of the people milling around the intersection of Falls and 37th Street between 7 and 9am are NOT from this neighborhood. They come in, get their 'medication' and then work on selling, or buying that same drug or upgraded heroin. Then, they look for crimes of opportunity. Until the residents start calling 311 (and that's apparently happening more frequently) the 'statisticians' out there sit idly by and say "we're doing our job, and there's no issue" what improvement can we as a community expect??? If you have concerns, if you see things going south on your street, if you're tired of the increase, DO SOMETHING. Call your Majors, call your council people. TAKE YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD BACK.
Baltimore Matt December 04, 2012 at 01:32 PM
Finally, a recognition from the police that crime is out of control in the Greenmount Avenue corridor including a gang war. I think we need to recognize that the gangs that are involved are running drug operations all over North Baltimore, including in Remington, Lower Charles Village and Waverly. The police are forced because of the gang war, to put more of their efforts into the Greenmount area therefore other parts of the Northern District are not receiving the same level of community policing (I know this because the police department spokesperson admitted this in a community meetings that they are being spread thin because of the a stepped up presence in the Greenmount Avenue area). The city police commissioner, the mayor’s office, and the city council needs to seek outside assistance whether it’s in the form of the State Police, Federal Law Enforcement organizations (I am sure since there is gang activity there are plenty if Federal crimes being committed from drug trafficking, to tax fraud, to firearms running, to committing crimes across state lines), as well as non-law enforcement organizations to help end some of the violence like Safe Streets.
AnnKangarouse December 04, 2012 at 02:57 PM
But Councilman Bill Henry, who represents North Baltimore along the Greenmount Avenue and York Road corridor where much of the violent crime has occurred, said the police department's power to stop crime only goes so far. He said the city needs to focus on the upbringing of its youth. "At the end of the day we need to stop raising criminals and that is the point I won’t let go of," Henry said. As a side note, Henry didn't say or do much at all with regard to supporting Dewees Rec Center, which is just across the field from where he grew up.
remington lover December 04, 2012 at 03:04 PM
THE CITY needs to raise the youth? can people EVER take responsible of being parents to their own kids? "it takes a village to raise a child" only works when the original PARENT is actually trying..people r using that mentality to not be responsible as parents,instead of using it as a small bit of help when needed,and "the village" is becoming the victims of that irresponsibility,and are becoming tired of it.obviously bill henry doesnt wnat any self accountability from his constituents...only votes ,so he appeases that hand-out,no-accountibilty,I'm owed and entitled mentality....and so it goes on
Kerry Craven December 04, 2012 at 04:27 PM
It's important to vent.....It's pertinent to be concerned about the region as a whole and all of the various subdivisions we know as the Northern District. It's not just gangs and bad youth. It's getting the cops back to walking the streets. AND it's about US putting our two cents in with the powers that be.....make calls people!! Send emails.
Joe December 04, 2012 at 04:28 PM
"He said the city needs to focus on the upbringing of its youth." And that requires FATHERS as well as mothers that care in the home! Far too few have one much less 2 caring parents. Statistics bear that out in prisons nation wide.
Joe December 04, 2012 at 04:29 PM
You're right, the city can't raise itself much less someone elses child. A poor choice of words by Mr Henry if in fact he meant what he said.
Joe December 04, 2012 at 05:06 PM
Look at the records of these kinds of people and you will see they are not unfamiliar with the cjs. The police arrest them and the justice system releases them or gives them suspended sentences. It seems the police do their job since their job is not to PREVENT crime but to respond to it.
Baltimore Matt December 04, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Joe, your right, it's not the police. The courts have no place to put these animals. Judges are only given so many slots in the prisons to fill and after that they face having to let criminals back on the streets or being reprimanded by making them preside over non-serious, non-jailable crimes such as traffic or rent court. That is why we need to bring in the feds as much as we can (they will convict and they have plenty prison space, including the supermax). I feel if these criminals were being brought in by a variety of law enforcement agencies; there would also be a greater likelihood that they would receive substantial jail time.
Needaname January 29, 2013 at 01:51 PM
Where is the 'Like' button ?!

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