Baltimore is on track to record fewer than 200 killings this year for just the fourth time in five decades. But gun violence is decreasing across most American cities. So how does Baltimore, which a White House official called the “greatest success story” in the country in terms of violence reduction, stack up?

Well, according to a new report from the Center for American Progress, Baltimore’s drop in gun violence through the first half of May this year ranks second among the 50 largest U.S. cities when compared to the same period in 2023. Philadelphia’s decline is the biggest. Detroit’s is third.

Declining homicides are only part of the story. The Center for American Progress’ research takes a more holistic look at gun violence by counting what the Gun Violence Archive calls “gun violence victimizations,” a broader category of incidents that includes nonfatal shootings, armed robberies and other firearm incidents.

Nationwide, the homicide rate is down 13%, according to CAP’s analysis of Gun Violence Archive data. Cities like Baltimore, which have historically struggled with gun violence, have experienced more dramatic declines. In New Orleans, homicides are down 47%. St. Louis is experiencing a similarly large decline.

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The national decrease may be driven by the influx of pandemic relief dollars spent on violence prevention programs, said Nick Wilson, senior director for gun violence prevention at CAP. Baltimore used $50 million of its American Rescue Plan Act funds to expand the scope of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement.

“They [Baltimore] wouldn’t be able to do it at the scale they’ve been doing it at without the ARPA investment,” Wilson said. Before joining CAP, Wilson worked in Mayor Brandon Scott’s administration as the associate director of planning, policy and coordination at MONSE.

Not all cities have used ARPA money to fund its violence prevention efforts. St. Louis chose not to use federal dollars to expand its violence prevention payroll, Wilson said, but still had steep declines.

Other factors likely have contributed. The city’s homicide clearance rate is up. State’s Attorney Ivan Bates has claimed credit for changes at the prosecutor’s office. Scott’s revival of a crime prevention approach known as the Group Violence Reduction Strategy may also be playing a role. An alternative way of policing the city’s most violent offenders, it led to a 33% drop in homicides and nonfatal shootings when it was first tried in the Western police district in 2022.