A Safer Baltimore
Friday Jul 11th, 2014
Originally posted in The Rawlings-Blake Review #209
Reducing violence remains the number one priority of my administration. A year ago, our city faced it’s most violent summer in recent memory. But with urgency and vigor, we stepped up our efforts to fight against violent crime in our communities. So far this year, we have seen one of the lowest mid-year homicide counts in nearly three decades. And while I am encouraged by the recent declines we have seen, there is still too much violence in Baltimore.
Earlier this week, I joined Police Commissioner Batts to reiterate that we will not let a minority of violent offenders continue to cause a majority of the destruction. We will continue pressing forward with several initiatives to make Baltimore a safer city, and we will continue placing an emphasis on building relationships with every community.
Recently, my administration pushed legislation to further assist us in the fight against violent crime, by putting more resources in place to target repeat violent offenders. The funding pays for implementation of Operation Ceasefire and provides resources for the police commissioner to place officers in the communities where they are needed the most. We have also expanded our enforcement zones and negotiated a new police contract that will help us put more officers on the beat during peak periods of crime. These efforts are helping to keep us focused on the most repeat violent offenders that are wreaking the most havoc in our communities.
But our city will not realize a lasting, dramatic, and sustainable change unless government and law enforcement work in partnership with our communities. Tonight, I will join with the men (and some women) of the 300 Men March movement to decry the deplorable violence on our streets. And later this month, Commissioner Batts and I join hold a Public Safety Forum in the Baltimore Police Department’s Northern District to foster a candid and open dialogue with community leaders and residents, as well as identify ways the administration can work with communities to dampen crime and maintain safety. Together, we can collectively declare that enough is enough and take back our streets.
I remain committed to driving violent crime down while maintaining a high level of mutual trust and confidence between police and the community. I refuse to accept the current situation as a way of life. Working together, we can make Baltimore the safest big city in America.