By Jason Howerton, The Blaze
BALTIMORE (TheBlaze/AP) — A 31-year-old woman and a young boy were shot in the head Thursday, becoming Baltimore’s 37th and 38th homicide victims so far this month, the city’s deadliest in 15 years.
Meanwhile, arrests have plunged: Police are booking fewer than half the number of people they pulled off the streets last year.
Arrests were already declining before Freddie Gray died on April 19 of injuries he suffered in police custody, but they dropped sharply thereafter, as his death unleashed protests, riots, the criminal indictment of six officers and a full-on civil rights investigation by the U.S. Justice Department that has officers working under close scrutiny.
“I’m afraid to go outside,” said Antoinette Perrine, whose brother was shot down three weeks ago on a basketball court near her home in the Harlem Park neighborhood of West Baltimore. Ever since, she has barricaded her door and added metal slabs inside her windows to deflect gunfire.
“It’s so bad, people are afraid to let their kids outside,” Perrine said. “People wake up with shots through their windows. Police used to sit on every corner, on the top of the block. These days? They’re nowhere.”
West Baltimore residents worry they’ve been abandoned by the officers they once accused of harassing them, leaving some neighborhoods like the Wild West without a lawman around.
“Before it was over-policing. Now there’s no police,” said Donnail “Dreads” Lee, 34, who lives in the Gilmor Homes, the public housing complex where Gray, 25, was chased down. “People feel as though they can do things and get away with it. I see people walking with guns almost every single day, because they know the police aren’t pulling them up like they used to.”
People were quick to note that Baltimore residents seemingly wanted police out of their neighborhoods before the violence spiked.