Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Crazy numbers

Some amazing stats reported at the CJCC meeting today:
  • From January 1 until today, there have been 549 homicides and shootings so far in the city, compared with 942 in 2000.
  • The city closed about 1,000 more felony cases this year than it did in 2010, thanks to reorganization of the docket and the addition of a second administrative judge.
  • Deaths in which the manner was undetermined are way down, from 331 in 2007 to a virtually unprecedented 154 so far this year, said David Fowler of the ME's office. (Most of these are drug-related, with the ME's office unable to determine if a heroin addict injected themselves or was injected by someone else, which would make the death technically a homicide).
  • Arrested citizens released without charges are also way down from last year, with the city releasing 70% fewer arrestees with no charges than last year-- 4,875 fewer people.
  • And finally, homicide arrests: 93 so far this year for 189 homicides, for a tidy 50% clearance rate.
Of course, every rose has its thorn, and the one currently bedeviling the city's backside is property crime. So far this year the BPD reports that home-invasion robberies with a gun are up 25%, rape arrests are up 63% (of course we have an inkling as to why that might be*), burglary is up 12%, and commercial robberies with a gun are up 75% over this time last year.

So why so few shootings, murders and overdoses, and why so much robbery? Is the judicial system just that more effective this year? Is the economy turning former shoplifters into armed home invaders? All or none of the above? Mysteries abound...


Cham said...

So many good questions and so few answers. What has changed? What needs work? Who is doing what to whom?

We don't know the answers to much because the American judicial system does great at arresting people, charging people and locking them up but asking very few questions in the process. We know where most of the perpetrators of said crimes are, we keep them all in one place. You'd figure somebody would eventually go there with a clipboard and take a survey. Why did you burglarize your buddy's house? Why did you kill your grandma? What made you assault your friend's girlfriend's second cousin in the parking lot of the bar?

In fact, getting basic crime data in some jurisdictions is like pulling teeth regardless of Freedom of Information Laws. The cops hold tight to the data primarily because the data is often a mess. Even when the data is finally released the judicial system doesn't have a clue to what they are looking at or what to do with it.

And then when somebody likes me comes along with a calculator and a blog it is unbelievable at the trends I can find just by making a few graphs.

Anonymous said...

A nolle pros (choosing not to prosecute someone who has been charged) and releasing someone with no charge are two totally different things.

Anonymous said...

Intuitively, this makes sense. The murders and shootings in the city are driven by the gun and drug culture which is mostly divorced from the national economy at this point. So if the SA office is finally prosecuting like they should, we could see big drop in those categories despite a bad economy, whereas buglaries and robberies are more symptomatic of poverty and desperation, something people have a lot more of these days.

Maurice Bradbury said...

Thanks, nons. So what would be a situation where someone would be arrested but not charged (besides being a suspected terrorist), like someone arrested for suspicion of DUI who passes the breathalyzer at the station, or with a weapon it turns out they have a permit to carry, etc?

Anonymous said...

A typical situation during the O'Malley years was that a young black male would be picked up for loitering on someone's steps or with an open container. (Which, by the way, are valid offenses.) He'd be taken to CIBC and held until a commissioner or ASA decided not to bother. Then he'd be released without being charged.

Today, they just don't bother enforcing those offenses outside upscale neighborhoods.

FYI, the Null Pro dismissals are still routine in District Court.

Why are shootings/murders down and robbery/burglary up? The city has been very clear that it is dedicating limited police resources to gunshot crime. Only. Homicide/attempted is the only crime which is meaningfully enforced here. Ergo, the spike in property crime, which by the way has a lower reporting rate.

Again, look at null pros in District Court. Baltimore is not serious about property crime unless the vics are Hopkins affiliates.

Now, the Mayor wants 10,000 more people to live here. Let's think about that. Most of the people who would otherwise live in Owings Mills or Havre de Grace are not willing to be robbed in Baltimore, so they're not moving here. Who might? Problem people from Rosedale, Philly, or DC. Do we need more of those? No. Shrink this city, please.

Statistically, a disproportionate share of our inmates were not born here. People who choose Baltimore choose crime. Why, cause that's what we encourage.

Anonymous said...

See what I mean?

Who's going to move to a place like Darley Park or CHM?

Probably not upper middleclass families with stable private sector employment, academically dedicated children, and a distaste for trouble with the law.

Anonymous said...

Released without charge numbers have been trending downward for years...from the MOM era 100,000 arrests a year (when Pat Jessamy spoke out about it by the way) followed by the ACLU lawsuit and settlement those unjust arrest figures continued to drop..thanks to the public scrutiny and outrage.

Anonymous said...

You left out the most important fact...What I REALLY want to know MJ is....what was the pre-Christmas lunch menu???? :) JS

Maurice Bradbury said...

I didn't partake of the lunch, but it looked like some good old Jay's sandwich trays and bowls o'chips. And no pepperoncinis. .. also Frank Conaway's really showing his 78 years. He got a phone call in the middle of the meeting, and took it right there at the table, just chatting away while Gregory Warren was giving a presentation, like he was unaware there was anyone else in the room. When it was his turn to report on the goings-on at the Clerk of the Court's office, he recited that owl poem. Poor guy really needs to retire to a nice sunny beach somewhere.