Baltimore’s Inner Harbor area is one of the bright spots in the Maryland city. It’s the home of the U.S.S. Constellation and one of the country’s great aquariums. It has restaurants and shops, and is near Camden Yards, home of the Baltimore Orioles baseball team and M&T Bank Stadium, home of the Baltimore Ravens football team. It is one of the main tourist attractions in Baltimore, drawing large crowds.
But over the past two weeks, violent groups of teenagers have randomly assaulted multiple individuals in and around the Inner Harbor area. For now, the police have no suspects, and are identifying the group behind the assaults only as “juveniles."
The most recent attack, which took place on Tuesday, left one victim with two broken hands and three staples in her head. The victim’s mother, Kia Martin, described the incident to Baltimore’s CBS affiliate station, WJZ:
The group of teens surrounded my daughter and her friends. My daughter was stomped, kicked, punched, thrown to the ground, beat with a baseball bat. I just don’t understand why a group would want to go around and terrorize innocent people. My daughter walks that path to and from school every day.
In another article, WJZ notes that violent teen attacks are nothing new for Baltimore. The story cites an assault earlier this year on a random individual who was heading home from work, as well as an attack on councilwoman Rikki Spector, both of which were committed by groups of youths.
Since the end of October, the violent assaults seem to have increased in frequency. On October 21, a New Jersey family was attacked while walking through the Inner Harbor. The family of ten, who asked to remain unidentified when they spoke with WJZ, were reportedly “swarmed and beaten by a large number of teenagers."
One victim described the incident, recalling that “[t]hey swarmed us. They hit my husband in the head. They knocked him out … and then it was just complete bedlam.” She continued, “They punched my nephew in the face and knocked him to the floor. My sister went to protect her son, and they were kicking her. I was kneeling with my husband screaming ‘Somebody help us, why is nobody helping us?’”
The same night, another unidentified 18-year-old victim was hospitalized after he and his friends were attacked by a group of teenagers. The victim’s mother, who is rightfully reported as feeling “outraged and disgusted," told WJZ that her son “couldn’t go to school or work cause he couldn’t see out of his eye. His eye was closed for days."
Violent crime and murder in Baltimore has increased dramatically since 2015. Between 2010 and 2014, the average annual homicide rate in Baltimore was 216.8. Between 2015 and 2017, the annual average homicide rate rose by more than one hundred victims to 320.7, and 2017 isn’t even over yet. Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis responded to a concerned public about the Inner Harbor attacks with words of reassurance, saying, “I’m certainly aware of those two assaults and our presence is very, very important, specifically at the Inner Harbor." But he added that it’s unrealistic to expect officers to be everywhere at all times.
It’s worth noting that the city of Baltimore has had police recruitment issues since the death of Freddie Gray in 2015 and the riots that followed. According to National Review, the police manpower total is now approximately 400 officers less than what the city has maintained in the past. That’s almost a 14% reduction in total police presence. Remember, former Baltimore City States Attorney Marlyn Mosby immediately sought to politicize Freddie Gray’s death and the six officers involved were charged and tried for murder, with all charges later being dropped after three officers were acquitted. Even with the acquittals and dismissal of criminal charges, the officers still face disciplinary action that is ongoing.
The continuing politicization of everything based on race has consequences and this appears to be a good example of the real unintended effects felt in our communities.