While Baltimore City and Baltimore County saw a dramatic spike in the number of homicides last year, Montgomery County saw a drop in the number of killings recorded.
Baltimore City ended the year with 348 murders in 2019, an all-time high. Baltimore County also saw a dramatic spike in the number of homicides, with 50 recorded in 2019. Contrast that to the 27 reported the year before.
In 2019, there were 15 murders in Montgomery County, compared with 20 the year before.
“The homicides that we’ve had in Montgomery County, the majority of them are domestic-related,” said police Chief Marcus Jones.
While the incidence of gang-related killings may have dropped, MS-13 and the 18th Street gang have been tied to a number of assaults and weapons possession cases in the county in recent years.
And last month, a 19-year-old D.C. woman, Sara Gutierrez-Villatoro, was found shot to death in a wooded area near Maryland Route 109 in Dickerson. Four people were arrested in that case, which police say was gang-related. All four suspects are “associated” with the 18th Street gang, police said.
In Baltimore City, grass-roots organizations have formed to tackle the violence that’s led to a record number of killings. Jones said Montgomery County has taken a similar approach in preventing the kind of violence that’s plagued some Baltimore neighborhoods.
“We’ve had some success in some of our partnerships in working with community members when we see those — you might call them neighborhood rifts,” Jones said.
Montgomery County has been fortunate to have resources to deal with crime, Jones said, but it isn’t immune from the same issues of crime and violence that other jurisdictions face.
“The things that happen in many other major cities — as well as many rural communities across the country — affect us here in Montgomery County as well,” he said.
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