Balt police, partners create around-the-clock ‘war room’ to address crime surge

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, law enforcement officials and prosecutors have created an around-the-clock “war room” to address the spike in violent crime that has racked Baltimore since the death of Freddie Gray, they said Sunday.

Officials have identified several criminal groups as top targets of the effort.

“We are pushing for an all-hands-on-deck approach to this current surge in violence,” Rawlings-Blake told reporters at a news conference. “We know that crime is not static. Neither can we be. It is important for us to work together and recommit ourselves to that collaboration every single day in order for us to get on top of this crime spike.”

Violence has spiked since Gray, 25, died in police custody in April, and has showed no sign of abating. May saw 42 homicides, the deadliest month in Baltimore in 25 years. From Friday through Sunday, more than 20 people were shot. Seven died, and others were in critical condition.

Interim Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis, appointed by Rawlings-Blake last week after she dismissed Anthony W. Batts, said the war room — an operations center in which all of the partner agencies are to work together — will “ensure there are no gaps in our intelligence sharing, no gaps in our operational capacities, and no gaps in our overall commitment to identify the small number of folks who are harming our communities.”

Davis said officials have identified “four different groups of bad guys who are responsible for a disproportionate amount of violence in Baltimore City, and we’re going to work around the clock until we get to the point of probable cause to start taking those folks off the streets.

“The citizens of this city deserve nothing less.”

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