Baltimore’s not the only city dealing with a rising murder rate, but it does stand out

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A newly released FBI report indicates violent crime rose across the United States in 2015. Murders increased by nearly 11 percent and violent crime overall increased by almost four percent, ending a two-year decline in total violent crimes. In Baltimore, the jump was over 60 percent.

Despite the rise, 2015 was not the worst year nationally for violent crime, according to US Attorney General Loretta Lynch. “It is important to remember that while crime did increase overall last year, 2015 still represented the third-lowest year for violent crime in the past two decades,” Lynch said at an event in Arkansas, per the AP.

Baltimore recorded 344 murders in 2015, or 55 murders per 100,000 residents. That marks a staggering 63-percent jump from the year before, when the city recorded 211 murders. Of course, 2015 was a very bad year for Baltimore: The death of Freddie Gray and the riots that followed brought a spate of crime, and an increase in murders.

Baltimore’s murder rate was second to none among cities with more than 400,000 people, and in a pool of smaller large cities – those with more than 100,000 people – Baltimore ranked second behind only St. Louis, which had 188 murders, per a summary from The Detroit News.

Chicago had the largest number of killings in 2015, tallying 478 murders, or 18 murders per 100,000 residents.

The NYU-based Brennan Center for Justice has concluded Baltimore, Chicago, and Washington D.C. are responsible for half of the national increase in murders in 2015.

Police spokesperson T.J. Smith tells The Baltimore Sun that the city could have been “a much bigger outlier” if violent crime was not also rising elsewhere. “It’s a national trend that police chiefs and departments across the country are grappling with,” he said.

Those who want to examine the FBI’s city-specific data for murder, rape, aggravated assault, robbery and other violent crimes can view the numbers here.

Ethan McLeod
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