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Do you trust your local Police force?
Current Debate Topic
Crime and Justice
Can we break the barrier that has been developed between peace and violence?
The city of Baltimore has seen a sharp spike in violence since the protests and looting after Freddie Gray died last month of injuries suffered while in police custody.
Murders are up, arrests are down. Many wonder when this cycle will end.
The month of May has been a tragic one in Baltimore, with 43 homicides, after 22 in April and 15 in March. The city’s homicide rate per every 100,000 people in Baltimore was 6.1 last month, an increase from a high of 5.0 in August 1972. Law enforcement officers had been advised to stand down in many cases which has led arrests in the city to drop by more than 50 percent.
Now West Baltimore residents worry they’ve been abandoned by the officers they once accused of harassing them. In recent weeks, some neighborhoods have become like the Wild West without a lawman around, residents said.
“Before it was over-policing. Now there’s no police,” said Donnail “Dreads” Lee, 34, who lives in the public housing complex where Gray, 25, was arrested.
“I haven’t seen the police since the riots,” Lee said. “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.”
Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said his officers “are not holding back” from policing tough neighborhoods, but they are encountering dangerous hostility in the Western District.
“Our officers tell me that when officers pull up, they have 30 to 50 people surrounding them at any time,” Batts said. At a City Council meeting, Batts said officers have also expressed concern they could be arrested for making mistakes.
Law Enforcement Officers have been under fire for decades. Either they are too heavy handed or they are not doing enough. We are all use to the varying opinion of our police system but is this the same issue? The leadership has told them to stand down and the officers are now afraid to perform their job duties for fear of being targeted by their management.
Should our societies expect our officers to be more socially acceptable and responsible or is it societies responsibility to stand up and deal with the consequences of their actions. Or is the damage done so far been so severe that there is no possiblity of breaking this barrier?