Retired NFL star Ray Lewis believes his pro-football skills had a positive impact on the city’s crime stats during his time with the Baltimore Ravens.
“When I played, crime went lower in Baltimore,” Lewis said Friday, according to ESPN reporter Jamison Hensley. “It’s like, nobody needs to be mad now. It’s like everybody wants to be happy and celebrate.”
Lewis, who was recently inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, spent 17 years with the Baltimore Ravens (1996-2012), during which he amassed over 2,000 tackles, had 21 interceptions and scored three touchdowns as a defender, according to Fox News. The ex-linebacker also helped his team win two Super Bowl championships, taking down the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXXV and then defeating the San Francisco 49er in Super Bowl XLVII, the final game of his successful career.
Whether Lewis’ time in Baltimore had a direct impact on the city’s crime rate is doubtful, but City-Data.com, a website tracking crime statistics, showed crime in the city did in fact fall during the pro-footballer’s playing days.
According to the website, Baltimore had a crime index score of 908.2 in 2002, which slowly dipped every year until 2016, with scores from the years 2009 through 2014 all below 700, Fox News reported. This period of decline was roughly parallel to the time Lewis played for the Ravens.
The city’s crime took another brief dip after Lewis’ retirement but has skyrocketed since. In 2017, Baltimore set the record for homicides with a whopping 343 killings, according to an Associated Press report. The homicide rate started to increase after the death of Freddie Gray, who died after suffering a severed spine while in police custody in 2015. Data cited by the Baltimore Sun showed the city’s violent crimes (murder, rapes, burglaries, etc.) hit a five-year low in 2014 before spiking again the following year.
Lewis himself was connected to a double-murder after two men were fatally stabbed outside an Atlanta nightclub in 2000. The pro footballer, who was squarely in his prime at the time, escaped murder charges, however, after agreeing to plead guilty to misdemeanor obstruction of justice and testify against two of his friends as part of a plea bargain, according to Bleacher Report.
In his book “I Feel Like Going On,” Lewis insisted he wasn’t involved in the stabbings and said he fled the scene as soon as trouble started.