Coordinated Community Responses to Domestic Violence in Six Communities: Beyond the Justice System. Baltimore, Maryland


With a population of more than 726,000, Baltimore is the 14th largest city in the United States, and is by far the largest city in Maryland, accounting for nearly 15 percent of the state's total population. Baltimore is an independent city surrounded by Baltimore County, but the two are very distinct communities. The city has experienced a shrinking population over the past decade, with the number of Baltimore residents declining by nearly 8 percent since 1980. A majority of Baltimore City residents (60 percent) are African American, and nearly all of the remaining residents are white.

Baltimore faces relatively high rates of unemployment and poverty; the 1991 unemployment rate was 9.4 percent compared to 6.7 percent nationally, and nearly 18 percent of all Baltimore families live in poverty compared to 10 percent of all families in the U.S. At $24,045, the 1989 median household income in Baltimore was well-below the national median of $30,056 for all households. Like many cities, Baltimore is struggling to keep up with the service needs of the community. In recent years, the community has been called upon to address increasingly serious social problems with fewer resources. However, within this context, the city has made strides in developing a coordinated response to domestic violence.