Are Gangs Driving Crime in Baltimore City?

Experts say many gangs have emerged in Baltimore over the years.

John Lenzner, Deputy to the U.S. Attorney in Maryland in 2021, admitted gangs are a problem in Baltimore.

“What we’ve found is a significant number of homicides and non-fatal shootings in Baltimore City are driven by those drug trafficking organizations. Sometimes shooting and killing rival members, and sometimes innocent bystanders who are in wrong place at the wrong time,” said Lenzer.

Federal and state law enforcement have both said gangs fuel a lot of violence.

Just this week, the U.S. Attorney’s office announced a Cherry Hill gang member was sentenced to 21 years in prison for crimes including murdering a rival gang member.

In December 2022, Baltimore area MS-13 gang members were also indicted for murder.

Months prior, twelve members of a criminal enterprise who called themselves the ABG operating out of West Baltimore were arrested for murder.

“They don’t affiliate around symbols, colors and things like that. It’s really more of a business organization that is assembled around drugs and violence or other criminal activity,” Jason Johnson said.

At the time, city leaders weren’t quick to label the violence as gang-related.

“This is a social network of people selling drugs,” Commissioner Michael Harrison said.

Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison instead called the group a social network.

“The fear of city leaders to confront these problems are the reason these problems are perpetuated,” Richard Vatz said.

Taken from Fox 45 Article dated April 22, 2023.