Inside USA: Baltimore's stories

Avi Lewis uncovers economic hardships, racial disparity and a notorious crime rate.

    Today Baltimore's port is a shadow of its past, the city's population has been declining for
    decades and its notorious crime rate contributes to its economic hardships and racial disparity

    America's presidential candidates have all but ignored violent crime as an issue in this election, so Inside USA has decided to do it for them.

    This week, we travel to the city of Baltimore to tell the stories of some of the people living there.

    Baltimore was once America's third largest city, and second largest port.

    Today, the port is a shadow of its former self, industry has fled, and the population has been declining for decades.

    Economic hardship and racial disparity are major factors in Baltimore's notorious crime statistics: nearly 300 murders a year, linked to a deadly heroin trade that fuels hundreds of deaths by overdose.

    The murder rate is nearly seven times the US national rate - making Baltimore more deadly than Bogota.

    Last year Baltimore was the second most dangerous city in the US with a population of more than 500,000.

    Inside USA lifts the lid on the problems the city is facing, and hears from a cross-section of Baltimore citizens trying to make the city a better place to live.

    Donnie Andrews was released from prison two years ago. A former drug kingpin and convicted murderer, he is now spending his time trying to negotiate a truce between warring gangs.

    He had been one of Baltimore's most notorious criminals - parts of Donnie's story have been immortalised. One of the main characters in the hit TV show, The Wire, is based on him - Omar Little.

    We also speak to the police, who admit that Baltimore's streets are like a warzone.

    But no matter how dangerous and deadly the streets get, we found many of the city's people rising to the challenge with fresh ideas about the best way to tackle Baltimore's problems.

    This episode of Inside USA will broadcast from Saturday, March 29, 2008 at the following times GMT:

    Saturday: 01:30, 11:30, 23:30, Sunday: 06:30, 19:00, Monday: 07:00

    To contact us or leave a comment click on 'Send your feedback' at the top of the page.

    Watch Al Jazeera English programmes on YouTube

    Join our debates at the Your Views section of the site.


    How different voting systems work around the world

    How different voting systems work around the world

    Nearly two billion voters in 52 countries around the world will head to the polls this year to elect their leaders.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    How the art world's hunger for ancient artefacts is destroying a centuries-old culture. A journey across the Himalayas.