Violent crime in Baltimore, 2012-2017

Violent crime in Baltimore spiked after 2015. That year, homicides jumped 62 percent to 342, a level previously unseen since the 1990s. Carjackings, shootings and commercial robberies all skyrocketed as overall violent crime rose 9.8 percent.

Two years after that pivotal year, overall violent crime continues to climb in the city. Below, we look at how violent crime has changed in two distinct time periods — the three years before 2015 and the past three years.

Violent Crimes Totals, 2012-2017

Source: Baltimore Police Department Victim-Based Crime Data, 2012 - 12/30/2017

Types of violent crime

  • Aggravated Assault

    An assault with any kind of weapon

  • Common Assault

    When someone uses their hands to assault you, such as a punch in the face

  • Homicide

    Killing of another person

  • Rape

    Unlawful sexual activity or intercourse carried out against the will of the other person or with someone who is incapable of valid consent

  • Robbery

    The use of violence or threat of violence to steal

  • Shooting

    Unlawful shooting of another person

These three year segments, from 2012 to 2014 and 2015 to 2017, were chosen to highlight a turning point in recent city history.

From 2012 to 2014, the city saw steadily declining numbers in violent crime. But in the past three years, numbers have increased.

Overall violent crime between these two time periods is up 9.8 percent. Most categories of violent crime either increased or stayed about the same, with the biggest percentage growths in homicides, shootings and robberies.

Violent Crimes by Type, 2012-2017

Source: Baltimore Police Department Victim-Based Crime Data, 2012 - 12/30/2017

Homicides and Shootings

Though homicides and shootings only make up a small percentage of overall violent crime, they saw one of the highest percentage jumps from 2012-2014 to 2015-2017.

Homicides and shootings, 2012-2017

Source: Baltimore Police Department Victim-Based Crime Data, 2012 - 12/30/2017

Neighborhoods with most shootings and homicides

2012 - 2014 2015 - 2017 % change
Sandtown-Winchester 47 123 162%
Brooklyn 32 108 238%
Central Park Heights 41 76 85%
East Baltimore Midway 25 70 180%
Belair-Edison 47 69 47%
Broadway East 39 67 72%
Coldstream Homestead Montebello 34 60 76%
Upton 38 60 58%
Carrollton Ridge 24 59 146%
Mondawmin 28 57 104%
Frankford 34 52 53%
Harlem Park 18 49 172%

Source: Baltimore Police Department Victim-Based Crime Data, 2012 - 12/30/2017

The neighborhoods with the most shootings and homicides today are largely the same ones from 2012-2014, but many saw massive spikes in numbers.

From 2012-2014, Sandtown-Winchester and Belair-Edison each had a combined 47 shootings and homicides, more than any other neighborhood.

In the past three years, 12 neighborhoods had more than 47 shootings and homicides combined from 2015 to 2017, led by Sandtown-Winchester with 123 and Brooklyn with 108.

Shootings and killings are also occurring earlier in the day now. From 2012 and 2014, 48 percent of shootings and homicides took place between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. That figure is down to 40 percent between 2015 and 2017. Shootings and homicides between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. are up 7 percentage points.

Percentage of homicides and shootings by hour

Source: Baltimore Police Department Victim-Based Crime Data, 2012 - 12/1/2017

Robberies

In raw numbers, robberies make up the bulk of the increase in violent crime in Baltimore. The city saw 4,358 more robberies between 2015 and 2017. Of these, street robberies are the most common.

Robberies by Type, 2012-2014, 2015-2017

Source: Baltimore Police Department Victim-Based Crime Data, 2012 - 12/30/2017

The areas targeted most in street robberies include both neighborhoods known to experience high crime as well as those that people view as safe from more serious crimes such as shootings or homicides.

Street robberies in downtown Baltimore outpace all other neighborhoods, occurring nearly twice as often as the next neighborhood.

Neighborhoods with most street robberies, 2015-2017

Street Robberies Shootings and Homicides
Downtown 518 36
Frankford 273 52
Belair-Edison 210 69
Patterson Park Neighborhood 203 7
Brooklyn 179 108
Bolton Hill 150 1
Hamilton Hills 148 19
Baltimore Highlands 148 15
Fells Point 140 13
Charles Village 138 5
Ednor Gardens-Lakeside 137 7
Canton 136 4
Mount Vernon 136 4
Central Park Heights 132 76
Coldstream Homestead Montebello 130 60

Source: Baltimore Police Department Victim-Based Crime Data, 2015 - 12/30/2017

Baltimore carjackings, 2012-2017

Source: Baltimore Police Department Victim-Based Crime Data, 2012 - 12/30/2017

Carjackings saw the largest percentage increases over the past three years. Though it is still the least common type of robbery in Baltimore, it has seen the largest change out of all violent crimes.

Most of the areas targeted in these carjackings are places that previously saw very few incidents.

Neighborhoods with most carjackings, 2012-2017

2012-2014 2015-2017 % change
Coldspring 1 37 3600%
Gwynns Falls 2 28 1300%
Upton 5 24 380%
Penn North 1 21 2000%
Sandtown-Winchester 5 21 320%
Frankford 15 20 33%
Washington Village/Pigtown 4 20 400%
Harlem Park 2 19 850%
Reservoir Hill 13 19 46%
Penrose/Fayette Street Outreach 4 18 350%
Poppleton 5 18 260%
Berea 1 17 1600%
Hopkins Bayview 0 17 n/a
Bolton Hill 1 16 1500%
Brooklyn 3 16 433%

Source: Baltimore Police Department Victim-Based Crime Data, 2012 - 12/30/2017

Commercial robberies have gone up 59 percent between the two time periods.

Most commercial robberies since 2012 occurred around the downtown area and major roads throughout the city. Similar to street robberies, downtown commercial robberies occured at twice the rate as the next neighborhood.

Roads targeted most include York Road, Reisterstown Road, Harford Road, Belair Road, and Pulaski Highway.

Meanwhile, residential robberies are one of the few types of violent crime that went down over the past few years. Between 2015 and 2017, it’s dropped by about 4 percent.

Explore where these commercial and residential robberies occur in the map below.

Commercial and residential robberies, 2012-2017

Source: Baltimore Police Department Victim-Based Crime Data, 2012 - 12/1/2017

Assaults

  • Aggravated Assault

    An assault with any kind of weapon

  • Common Assault

    When someone uses their hands to assault you, such as a punch in the face

While aggravated and common assault are the most common of violent crimes, these did not change as drastically over the past three years. While the number of aggravated assault incidents rose 13 percent, common assault dropped 9 percent.

The areas with the most aggravated assault incidents pre-2015 remained the same ones with the most incidents between 2015 and 2017. Of those, Brooklyn, Central Park Heights, Dunbar-Broadway had the biggest increases at about 40-60 percent.

Neighborhoods with most aggravated assaults, 2012-2017

2012-2014 2015-2017 % change
Sandtown-Winchester 344 442 29%
Downtown 386 439 14%
Brooklyn 256 400 56%
Cherry Hill 267 339 27%
Belair-Edison 261 316 21%
Frankford 277 308 11%
Central Park Heights 213 304 43%
Upton 231 260 13%
Carrollton Ridge 203 248 22%
Broadway East 216 239 11%
Coldstream Homestead Montebello 236 227 -4%
Dunbar-Broadway 134 219 63%
McElderry Park 182 199 9%
Mondawmin 181 196 8%
Ellwood Park/Monument 162 169 4%

Source: Baltimore Police Department Victim-Based Crime Data, 2012 - 12/30/2017

Some other neighborhoods had fewer incidents but saw huge percentage increases in aggravated assault incidents.

Aggravated assault spikes, 2012-2017

2015-2017 % change
Penn-Fallsway 114 322%
Middle Branch/Reedbird Parks 84 223%
Gwynns Falls 71 255%

Source: Baltimore Police Department Victim-Based Crime Data, 2012 - 12/30/2017

Most neighborhoods with the most common assault incidents saw decreases over the past three years, but many of these neighborhoods are the same that saw spikes in aggravated assault, homicides, shootings and robberies.

Carroll - Canton Industrial Area bucked the trend and saw a 276 percent jump in common assaults from 63 incidents to 237.

Rape

The shift in the number of rape incidents appears to be scattered throughout neighborhoods. Some neighborhoods with the most incidents in the past, like downtown Baltimore, saw significant decreases, but overall numbers are up 8.5 percent.

Neighborhoods with most rapes, 2012-2017

2012-2014 2015-2017 % change
Downtown 50 38 -24%
Brooklyn 22 22 0%
Belair-Edison 15 21 40%
Frankford 25 20 -20%
Sandtown-Winchester 18 18 0%
Carrollton Ridge 12 17 42%
Cherry Hill 18 16 -11%
Baltimore Highlands 4 15 275%
Upton 9 15 67%
Central Park Heights 5 13 160%

Source: Baltimore Police Department Victim-Based Crime Data, 2012 - 12/30/2017

Baltimore rape incidents, 2012-2017

Source: Baltimore Police Department Victim-Based Crime Data, 2012 - 12/1/2017

Firearms

The prevalence of guns in the streets may be contributing to the rise in violent crime. Between 2015 and 2017, 25 percent of violent crimes were committed using firearms, up 8 percent compared to 2012-2014.

Weapons used in violent crimes, 2012-2017

Source: Baltimore Police Department Victim-Based Crime Data, 2012 - 12/30/2017