Baltimore Criminal Lawyer
Baltimore was first founded in 1729, making it one of the oldest cities in the United States. The name Baltimore comes from the Irish Gaelic name Baile an Ti Mhoir, or “town of the big house.” As Baltimore is home to an estimated 621,342 residents as of 2012, a number of different courts, both civil and criminal, are required to serve the local area. As such, it’s vital to choose a qualified Baltimore lawyer with experience in a variety of courts around the city.
If you’re charged with a crime in Baltimore, it’s helpful to understand the local area, including the locations of district courts in the city. A Baltimore lawyer can help you determine your best course of action when facing criminal charges in Maryland’s largest city.
- Crime Rates in Baltimore
- The Courthouse in Baltimore, MD
- Demographics in Baltimore
- The Geography of Baltimore
Crime Rates in Baltimore
Despite a significant drop from 1993 to 2010, violent crime in Baltimore remains higher than the national average. An average of 9,365 violent crimes and 28,872 property crimes are reported within the city limits each year, or 15.08 and 46.50 crimes per 1,000 residents, respectively. An attorney is often necessary to defend clients charged with such crimes, as most serious crimes in the area are designated as felonies, especially violent crimes. Property crimes make up the majority of reported offenses in Baltimore. An average of 3,363 robberies are reported each year. Assaults are also common in Baltimore when compared to other crimes; an average of 5,513 assaults make up the 38,237 total crimes each year.
In 1993, Baltimore experienced its highest homicide rate in the city’s history — 353 murders. By 2011, however, 196 homicides were reported by Baltimore police. Violent crimes like homicide often occur more frequently in high-poverty areas of the city. The FBI announced in 2005 that they had identified irregularities in the amount of homicides and rapes reported by the Baltimore Police Department. Maryland legislators again investigated the Baltimore Police Department and again found large discrepancies between the amount of rapes and homicides that were actually reported in the city and the reports. Although the investigations cause some doubts on the noted decline of violent crimes in Baltimore, the official tally still shows a dramatic drop from 21,799 violent crimes in 1993 to 9,316 in 2010.
A Baltimore lawyer must be experienced with the current attitude of public officials in the city toward violent crime. For example, Baltimore courts have a reputation for taking a harsh stance on repeat offenders as part of the area’s crackdown on crime. Increased community involvement in reporting crimes also has the potential to result in false accusations that can force innocent residents into legal proceedings.
The Courthouse in Baltimore, MD
A total of five District Courts serve the city of Baltimore, MD. All keep weekday business hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and are assisted by Administrative Clerk Lonnie P. Ferguson Jr. The following locations make up the Baltimore District Court system:
- Borderding District Court Building: 5800 Wabash Avenue
- Civil Division: 501 East Fayette Street
- Eastside District Court Building: 1400 E. North Avenue
- Courtroom Booking Intake Facility: 300 E. Madison Street
- John R. Hargrove, Sr. Building: 700 E. Patapsco Avenue
All district courts within Baltimore, Maryland provide visitor parking through metered streets, garages, and adjacent visitor lots.
Demographics in Baltimore
The population of Baltimore has been slowly declining in recent years, down 4.6 percent since 2000. Based on data from the 2010 Census, around 63.7 percent of the population is African-American, while a further 29.6 percent is Caucasian. The third-largest demographic in the city was Hispanic/Latino/Spanish, with an estimated 4.2 percent of the residents. Baltimore was the second city in the United States to reach 100,000 residents (New York City was first), and the city remained as the second most populous city in the U.S. until Philadelphia passed it in 1860. By 1980, Baltimore was no longer among the top ten most populous cities in the United States.
The median individual income in Baltimore is $30,078, while the average family living in the city survives on a $48,216 income. In 2008, 19.3 percent of the city’s population was listed below the national poverty line. In spite of the housing crisis, rent costs continue to increase in the city—up three percent during the summer of 2010. Baltimore is also home to an increasing number of homeless persons (4,000 in 2011). Particularly severe is the recent increase in young homeless persons, which contributes to a similar increase in property and violent crime.
The Geography of Baltimore
Located in the center of Maryland, Baltimore is an independent city, established so to distinguish it from the surrounding areas of Baltimore County. The city itself is nestled against the Patapsco River, which contributes to its status as the largest seaport in the Mid-Atlantic U.S., along with its convenient location close to many Midwestern markets. The Inner Harbor of Baltimore was at one time the second most-utilized point of entry for immigrants to the United States.
As of the 2010 Census, the total area of Baltimore covers roughly 92,052 square miles, of which just over 80,000 square miles is land, making the city area about 12 percent water. Its location on the fall line separating the Atlantic Coastal Plain and Piedmont Plateau also divides the city into two distinct areas—upper and lower city. Baltimore is classified under the Koppen system as lying within a humid subtropical climate zone, but the areas outside the city usually experience cooler weather throughout the year due to a phenomenon known as the urban heat island effect.