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Mobtown Beat

Public Enemy or Public Relations?

Baltimore’s four 2013 Public Enemies in handy chart form.

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Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts has a lot of enemies—public enemies. But they are all ranked first among equals, in series. The department’s new policy—since July—names various alleged hoodlums “Public Enemy Number 1” and, soon after, reports their capture.

Historically, Public Enemy Number 1 has tended to be a major criminal player. Example: This year, the city of Chicago named the Mexican drug cartel boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera its Public Enemy el Supremo. Guzman, reputed boss of the Sinaloa Cartel, controls an army of assassins responsible for hundreds of murders. Until 2013, he routinely made Forbes’ list of billionaires. Guzman’s never been to Chicago (that anyone knows) but reportedly sells about 2 tons of cocaine there each month. He is Chicago’s first Public Enemy Number 1 since Al Capone got the nod in 1930.

In Baltimore, the fry appear to be decidedly smaller: Take Capone Chase, for example, announced as “Public Enemy Number One” and caught three days later. Curious, how these public menaces always seemed to be caught a few days—3.75 days on average—after their enemy-hood is announced. Is BPD using public enemies as a public relations strategy?

Here are Baltimore’s four (so far) 2013 Public Enemies Number 1, in handy chart form.


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