WASHINGTON — May was Baltimore’s deadliest month since the early 1970s, with 43 total homicides.

Arrests have dropped sharply in Baltimore since Freddie Gray died on April 19 of injuries he suffered in police custody. His death unleashed protests, riots, and the criminal indictment of six officers.

Homicides were increasing in Baltimore even before Gray’s death, but the 43 slayings in May mark a major spike, after 22 in April, 15 in March, 13 in February and 23 in January.

Still, one South Baltimore neighborhood will be celebrating the fact that no deadly shootings have occurred there in over a year — since April 22, 2014.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen will join community members at the Created For So Much More Worship Center for a cookout, complete with games for kids, family activities and a DJ, on Tuesday afternoon.

A news release from the mayor’s office says a health department program called “Safe Streets Cherry Hill” uses “public health strategies to mediate violence and reduce homicides and non-fatal shootings in troubled Baltimore communities.” There are three other similar programs across the city.

Since the start of the year, the program staff has apparently mediated 60 conflicts, “97 percent of which were likely or very likely to have led to a shooting.”

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