For a sense of the neighborhood in which Freddie Gray grew up, and which has been set partly ablaze over the last several days — the plot of West Baltimore known as Sandtown-Winchester — one need only read the relevant portion of the Baltimore City Health Department’s 2011 Neighborhood Health Profiles.
According to the department (which included in its analysis the adjacent neighborhood of Harlem Park), the 10,000-person neighborhood, which is almost entirely black (97 percent), had a median household income of $22,277 as of 2011– 40 percent below Baltimore City’s average. One in five residents age 16 or older were out of jobs, compared with one in ten in Baltimore City. Almost one in three families were below the poverty line, half of eighth-graders were not “proficient” readers, and a quarter of ten- to 17-year-olds could expect to end up in handcuffs.
By nearly any criteria, Sandtown-Winchester is among the worst neighborhoods in Baltimore. But it is not for a lack of trying to turn it around.