The Thanksgiving table can be a battlefield. For all the familial love and intimacy that can come with the holiday, it can put those who have chosen Baltimore as their homes on a collision course with “concerned” and “well-meaning” family members dead set on trashing our beautiful city.

This year, we’re helping cut down on the time you have to spend preparing for combat. Call it data as conversational ammo.

Here are the receipts you need to shut down that family member and get back to dinner.

“But what about the murders?”

Homicides are down this year.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

This time last year Baltimore found itself near the top of the nation in homicides per capita. The city had only six fewer reported homicides in 2022 than 2021, even as killings declined by 6% nationwide.

This year, Baltimore might finally be experiencing the kind of decline in homicides that has lowered homicide rates in other cities around the country.

Through Nov. 7, homicides are down 23% from the same point last year. Baltimore’s 220 reported homicides are the fewest this late in the year in nearly a decade. As of now, Baltimore is on pace to finish the year with fewer than 300 killings for the first time since 2014.

“Carjacking is so bad there this year”

Reports on carjackings have become a fixture of local news in D.C. and bordering parts of Maryland. There have been nearly 900 in the nation’s capital so far this year. But not in Baltimore.

This year, carjackings in Baltimore are actually down over 20% from the same time last year. Baltimore used to have a higher per-capita rate than D.C. Not anymore.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Car thefts have been up nationwide, but the rate has been especially bad in Baltimore this year. Many people think it’s teenagers who are to blame. But police say most people arrested in Baltimore for car thefts are adults.

For carjackings in D.C., it is teenagers: 65% of those arrested for carjacking were under 18. About three in every four involved a gun.

“Your car is going to get stolen”

So far, you have enough facts to impress even the biggest Baltimore skeptics in your family, but what about when you encounter the final boss of concerned and well-informed relatives at the Thanksgiving table? Enter the Baltimore Banner reader.

Our series of stories on the dramatic rise in auto thefts in Baltimore this year might spur some questions about where you’re parking your car or the state of car thefts in your neighborhood.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

The good news here? No matter where you live in Maryland, auto thefts have probably already peaked.

While the problem certainly isn’t over Baltimore has still had over 1,000 reported car thefts in every full month since June — things are getting better. Reported auto thefts have declined in each of the last two months. Baltimore has also taken steps to address the crisis, distributing steering wheel locks and tracking devices in areas hardest hit by auto theft.

Even better still, there’s a fix available even if you have a potentially vulnerable Kia or Hyundai. Protecting yourself might be as simple to a visit to your nearest dealership.

greg.morton@thebaltimorebanner.com