Baltimore’s new police chief Darryl De Sousa got a pat on the back from the mayor for his leadership in helping to reverse the crime wave that has plagued the city for years.
New crime statistics are in, and they looks really good. In the first quarter of 2018, there were 60 killings in Baltimore in 2018, compared with 79 during the same period last year, according to the Baltimore Sun. Homicides dipped 27 percent, and non-fatal shooting declined 23 percent.
In February, Baltimore was declared the most dangerous big city in America, according to a USA Today analysis of nationwide crime data. That tag was well deserved, as 2017 was the deadliest year on record for the city. Baltimore had the nation’s highest per capita murder rate at 55 per 100,000 residents.
Mayor Catherine Pugh fired Police Commissioner Kevin Davis and replaced him with De Sousa, who is African American, in January. De Sousa, 53, was serving as deputy commissioner at the time, with 30 years in the department. Pugh gave her new police commissioner the thumbs-up for his sharp focus on crime reduction, the Sun reported.
De Sousa “inherited a long list of problems that have proved intractable for predecessors,” The New York Times reported when he was appointed in January.
“The priority as of this moment right now is really simple — it’s a really simple priority, and that’s violence reduction,” De Sousa said, according to the Times. “Second priority is violence reduction, and third priority is violence reduction at an accelerated pace. That’s the bottom line.”
That focus on reducing violence made a huge difference. Davis, who served as commissioner since 2015, was great at helping the city achieve key changes that the U.S. Department of Justice, under President Barack Obama, recommended, Pugh said. However, she was displeased with his ability to reduce crime.
De Sousa credited his predecessor for getting the ball rolling before he took over. The commissioner also attribute the crime reduction to the mayor’s violence reduction initiative, a mass warrant sweep in high-crime earlier this year, and improved community policing.