2016-07-07T050511Z_1_LYNXNPEC6606B_RTROPTP_3_BALTIMORE-POLICE-HIRING

If you think Baltimore is bad now, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

The city’s police force remains in the limelight with the ongoing trials of the officers involved with the death of Freddie Gray, which set off riots and became part of the ongoing debate about police relations with the African American community. Yet, as police became the subject of intense scrutiny, crime began to spike. Last year was one of the most violent the city had seen in recent memory with 344 homicides. Now, there’s been a 6.1 percent drop in its police force (Via Reuters):

The number of uniformed officers in the mid-Atlantic city fell 6.1 percent last year and has shrunk by even more in the first half of this year, according to police data seen by Reuters and not previously reported.The fall in 2015 was the biggest decline in police numbers among nine comparably-sized U.S. cities reviewed by Reuters. The police force in Detroit and El Paso shrank by 4.9 percent and 4.3 percent, respectively, while Denver and Las Vegas saw increases of over 5 percent.

The reasons for the fall are unclear, but it comes at a difficult time when the number of murders and other violent crimes have risen sharply in Baltimore and many other U.S. cities.

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