(Photo from BuddyTV.com)
In the second half of season 3, as a theme that we see throughout all the seasons of The Wire so far, the police are highly sensitive to the game of numbers. During the meetings with the Majors, the commissioner and deputy commissioner really hammer home how important it is to get the crime numbers down. But it is all only numbers, not the need to move higher up in the crime organizations to take down the key players. But instead, make the numbers lower doing whatever it takes.
After watching a lot of the episodes, I thought the numbers might have been a little higher than real life. That was only because they were so high that it seemed to be trying to make a point more than what they were themselves. But after hearing from Neil Franklin of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), those numbers were not as astonishing as the real numbers.
Here are a few facts and numbers that really stood out to me:
- Drug seizures for local or state police in 1970:
Once ounce of cocaine
One quarter ounce of heroin
Drug seizures for local or state police in 2002:
Ten tons of heroin
Twenty tons of cocaine
- Total Drug Arrests
2005 1.9 million
Now over 2 million
- UNSOLVED CASES
40% of murders
60% rapes and arson
If you look at the website CrimeBaltimore.com, you can see a visual interactive representation of the recent crime in Baltimore for certain date periods, see where it was committed and even a crime log at the bottom. It just gives a scary representation that The Wire, while fictional but based on real life, is still going on today. And after hearing from Franklin growing up in these neighborhoods and knowing the real characters (Little Melvin Williams), it is incredible that this city is still standing.