The body count is 132 and rising. In fact, as of last week there were 22 homicides in Baltimore since June 21, the first day of summer. Like a starting gun signaling shooters to race to a one-body-a-day quota.

Since the end of June, I've been documenting the rising homicide rate for the Baltimore City Paper's Summer Of the Gun series. I've spoken to victims' families, visited crime scenes and attended funerals.

The goal is to get some of the more complacent residents to give a shit.

When I talk to people at the scenes, they tell me, above the wup wup wup of the police copter over head or the high whine of an approaching ambulance, that they want more cops on the beat, like in the old days. Yes. In some of Bmore's worst warzone neighborhoods, residents pine for the days when they saw cops walking down their street on a nightly basis.

"At least it kept the dealers away," they say. Cliche as it sounds, in the far-flung parts of the city overgrown with invasive "ghetto palms" and creeping vines and weeds up to your waist, the streets are dealers choice. And they win every hand.

By the time you read this,another funeral home will have closed the hearse door on a few more bodies and kids and grandparents and neighbors will mourn the loss of their own.

There's no end in site as the heat takes over the crowded apartment complexes, the dark corners and the alleys where the rats won't

even go.

Below are two interviews I conducted with neighborhood locals.

[Images by J.M. Giordano]