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Promising Trends in Gun Violence Reduction

The FBI recently released first quarter 2024 gun violence numbers, and there is some good news.  While Maryland and the United States are still facing significant challenges with gun violence, we are seeing some promising signs, with Baltimore helping to lead the way. Gun violence numbers across the country are decreasing, particularly in states with strong gun safety frameworks and those employing public health approach strategies. U.S. homicides are down 13.1% since 2023 and 16.4% since 2021. Gun violence victimization rates are declining across every age group in the first quarter of 2024. One outlier to this trend is domestic violence incidents involving a gun, which have increased by 9 percent in the first quarter of 2024.

Of particular note is that most major U.S. cities are experiencing lower rates of gun violence. In fact, 14 U.S. cities have had fewer gun violence victimizations in 2024 year-to-date compared to the pre-pandemic 2019 year-to-date. Baltimore is included in this group and has seen the most significant improvement in its population-adjusted gun violence victimization rate, with more than 16 fewer victimizations in 2024 compared with 2023 year-to-date.

The cities experiencing these turnarounds have committed time, money, and effort to gun violence reduction strategies coordinated by local offices of violence prevention and have made significant investments in more holistic and long-term approaches to improving public safety.

“In Baltimore, Mayor Brandon Scott (D) launched the Group Violence Reduction Strategy (GVRS) in 2022, emphasizing community engagement and support along with a stronger commitment to more effective law enforcement approaches. This strategy includes expanding the Behavioral Health System Baltimore alternative responder system, which sends community responders, better equipped than traditional law enforcement officers, to mental health and behavioral health crises. A study by the University of Pennsylvania’s Crime and Justice Policy Lab found that the GVRS strategy was associated with a 25 percent drop in shootings in Baltimore’s Western District over an 18-month period beginning in 2022.” See Early 2024 Data Show Promising Signs of Another Historic Decline in Gun Violence by Chandler Hall (CAP)

These positive trends highlight the effectiveness of comprehensive, well-funded, and community-centered approaches to reducing gun violence. As we continue to advocate for these strategies, we remain committed to making Maryland and the United States safer for everyone.