BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Thursday called for a “comprehensive update” from Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott on his violent crime plan as deadly shootings continue to top previous years.
In response, Mayor Scott urged the governor to travel to Baltimore so Hogan could see firsthand his work to prevent violence in the city.
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Baltimore is on pace for more than 350 homicides in 2022 and, for the first time, more than 100 people were killed in early May, according to Councilman Eric Costello.
In a letter to Scott, the governor referenced a February meeting with the mayor where Scott outlined his plan to address Baltimore’s persistent violent crime problem. Hogan said he was assured the mayor’s approach would lead to a “significant reduction in violence.”
The leaders each called their meeting at the State House “very productive.” But with violent crime showing no signs of stopping in the city, Hogan is looking for results.
“Already, less than six months into this calendar year, 128 people have been murdered in the city,” Hogan said. “They include a grandmother working as a DoorDash driver shot dead during a robbery, a mother shot dead while her children were inside the house, a pregnant woman and her fiancé shot dead in their car and, there are just days ago, a young student killed hours after his junior prom.
Hogan also referenced the Baltimore City Council’s recent call for the Baltimore Police Department to come up with a short-term crime plan and deploy more officers to neighborhoods. He also mentioned Baltimore residents’ calls to action against the seemingly endless violence.
“In light of these cries, it is essential that the state and the public what is — and what is not — be done,” the governor said. “I request a full update on how your violent crime plan is being implemented, an account of how state law enforcement funds have been and will be spent. , and on the BPD’s progress toward closing warrants for violent offenders.”
Hogan also called for an “accounting for the number of felony warrants BPD has currently opened, as well as the number of felony warrants BPD has closed or issued to federal, state, and county partners since February,” after the Police Commissioner Micheal Harrison reportedly told the governor in February there were nearly 6,000 outstanding warrants in the city.
In a statement released Thursday evening, the mayor said he was confused by Hogan’s letter, saying in part, “if the governor wanted to ask me about crime fighting, he could have asked me in person. Saturday, but he chose not to and instead played public safety games.
Scott invited Hogan to spend time with the Mayor’s Office for Neighborhood and Safety Engagement, which was established last November, to learn more about the work of the Group Violence Reduction Strategy and to talk with the violence switches on the safe streets to see the challenges they face.
The mayor also said Hogan could visit the city’s new Emergency Operations Center or “one of our four Baltimore City Intelligence Centers, which are embedded in communities with high rates of violence and provide real-time data and intelligence to our officers on the street”.
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“That way he can see the work being done instead of pointing fingers from Switzerland without much effort,” Scott said.
Since the February meeting, the mayor also announced the city’s “SMART” crime-fighting strategy, in which Baltimore police officers will transition from the role of “responders” to the traditional role of foot patrol and interacting with neighborhood residents. Response to some minor crimes will be outsourced or managed remotely as part of the plan.
Governor Hogan had a lukewarm response to the new strategy, which was announced earlier this month.
“I don’t know if that’s smart or stupid. I just hope they do something about violent crime and stop the shootings that happen every day,” he told WJZ at the time. “It’s a pretty simple plan: arrest more, prosecute more, and convict more. Keep them in jail and get repeat violent offenders off the streets. I don’t know what their plan did today, but I’m not sure it’s going to fix this.
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