The City of Baltimore has become known in recent years for skyrocketing violent crime. Though Maryland’s population hub has been included in lists of America’s most dangerous cities for years, it’s murder rate in 2017 marked a troubling new high.
With 343 homicides throughout the year, the city saw rate of about 56 per 100,000 people.
Confronted with those statistics at the end of her first year in office, Mayor Catherine Pugh called the spike in killings “disheartening” and “painful.”
According to the Baltimore Sun reported, Pugh is continuing her public effort to stem the tide of increased violent crime.
Earlier this week, she toured areas of the city targeted by the Violence Reduction Initiative, which was created as part of a larger crime-reduction strategy last year.
Upon entering one convenience store and engaging in a conversation with a clerk protected behind a Plexiglas wall, Pugh revealed that her plan to lower the crime rate included modifying local business hours.
“What time do you-all close?” she asked the employee.
When he told her the store was open until 11:30 p.m., she expressed concern.
“Isn’t that late?” she asked. “That’s a little late. It keeps the crowds around here.”
Pugh went on to say that “9 o’clock is nice,” telling the clerk that city leaders “need you all to close at 9 o’clock at night.”
The A&M Grocery employee would not agree to the sudden demand at the time of the mayor’s visit.
Despite Pugh’s anti-violence initiative, Baltimore has seen an increase in homicides this month, recording a total of 29 within a three-week period.