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Baltimore Passes Bloody Benchmark: City's 2013 Homicide Count Passes 2012 Total

While the number of most major crimes has declined this year in Maryland's largest city, the homicide rate is up slightly.

The city of Baltimore passed a sad crime milestone recently. File | Patch
The city of Baltimore passed a sad crime milestone recently. File | Patch
Baltimore passed a sad milestone last week, when the city's 218th homicide occurred, surpassing last year's total, reports the Baltimore Sun.

The total homicide count in Baltimore in 2012 was 217, according to a Baltimore Sun database.

A 26-year-old killed in West Baltimore on Dec. 5 was the city's 218th murder this year, surpassing the city's total homicides in 2012, the newspaper said.

It's the second consecutive year that the homicide count is on the rise in Baltimore. In 2011, Baltimore saw 197 murders — a record low in more than two decades, the Sun reported.

The grim milestone happened that same week that Charm City was ranked No. 41 on the list of 50 Most Violent Cities in the World with 35.03 homicides per 100,000 residents, reported Business Insider.

According to the Sun, Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts "expressed disappointment" with the number of homicides in Baltimore in 2013, "though he stressed that the numbers of all other major crimes have gone down."

The department claims to have taken 1,800 illegal guns off the streets this year, says the Baltimore City Paper.

In contrast to the city's crime problem, Baltimore County Police Chief James Johnson recently a little-reported study by the Department of Justice that highlighted his department, among a handful across the country, for its ability to solve crimes, according to Perry Hall Patch.

The study focused on the best practices of departments with some of the highest "clearance" rates over the past several years—including agencies from Denver, Houston, Jacksonville, Richmond, Sacramento County and San Diego.

While neighboring Baltimore City had just over 35 homicides per 100,000 people in 2012, the homicide rate in Baltimore County totaled just 3.7 last year, and averaged less than 3.5 for the past five years. This means BCPD investigates about 30 homicides a year, according to Perry Hall Patch.

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