Baltimore has seen as many as 35 homicides this month alone, which is the highest monthly figure in the last 15 years. Surge in murders seems to result from Memorial Day weekend violence during which nine people lost their lives and overall 29 shootings took place. The last time Baltimore has had so many homicides was in December 1999. The only time the city was the scene of more than 35 murders was in the previous month, November 1999, when police recorded 36 killings.
The April riots were sparked by the death of Freddie Gray who died in custody due to a spinal injury. Fires and robberies took over the city and 20 police officers were killed while they were trying to restore order. The National Guard was called in to help calm the protesters down, and Governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency.
There have been reports that the increase in crime might be a result of police officers showing less initiative and failing to follow their marching orders. The police, however, claims that the criminal activity increase is a result of additional gang violence, and not poor performance of officers. "I hope that there is not a slowdown and what kind of message that sends to the community and to the government if that's the case," Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said.