For the following graph, I took the population estimates from the US Census Bureau for the decades in question (1980, 1990, 2000 and 2010). I took the number of murders for each year from 1985 to 2012 from the Federal Bureau of Investigations’ Uniform Crime Reporting database. (One big caveat is that the data collection methods changed significantly in 2000, so the numbers before and after 2000 are not very comparable and should not be used in a vacuum to draw conclusions.) For the murders in 2013, 2014 and year-to-date in 2015, I used the Baltimore Sun’s database of homicides which is tied into the Baltimore City Open Data project and uses public information for the most recent information. It is fair to say that the 2015 numbers are in flux, but they’re pretty solid.
If those numbers hold, and if the census estimate for Baltimore City in 2014 is correct, this year is already the year with the highest murder rate per 100,000 residents in Baltimore since the height of the crack-cocaine epidemic of the 1980s and 1990s.
If this is not an emergency — and a catastrophe — then I don’t know what is.
I hope my math is wrong. Here is my data table: