Our city cannot thrive if our residents do not feel safe, yet violent crime remains a persistent problem in Baltimore. In 2019, we recorded our highest murder rate per-capita rate ever, and we have had more than 300 homicides for six years in a row. We are also failing to thoroughly investigate and arrest suspects promptly. In 2010, Baltimore was the leading medium-sized American city with a murder clearance of 56%, but today we are only clearing 32% of murder cases, our worst rate in decades. We need to double down on data-driven methods that reduce violent crime in our city. We also need to ensure that our police officers are trained in de-escalation, conflict prevention and focus on building trust and respect with all communities.
At the same time, we know our police officers are being asked to carry a tremendous burden, often without the resources, training, and support required to do their jobs safely and effectively. We must diversify our emergency response system to include mental health professionals and other social workers that may be better equipped to respond to certain 9-1-1 reports appropriately. Further, we need to double-down on community policing strategies that strengthen neighborhood-police relationships and empower civic organizations to help reduce crime in our city.
Policing That Works
Baltimore desperately needs a comprehensive violence reduction plan that is transparent, responsive, inclusive, and data-driven. This will require us to rethink the role of emergency response in our city, empower and elevate mental health professionals and social workers, better fund police training and resources, and develop community-driven strategies that facilitate respect and dignity.
As Delegate, I will:
- Support efforts in Annapolis to return control and oversight of the Baltimore Police Department to the City of Baltimore and work to expand upon the gains made in the 2021 General Assembly on police reform and accountability, including taking a critical look at the aspects of the LEOBR that do not improve community/police relations.
- Increase transparency and accountability in police-citizen encounters such as supporting a statewide body camera mandate and full compliance with the Consent Decree. We must make every effort to remove the culture of corruption that ultimately led to the unchecked offenses committed by members of the Gun Trace Task Force.
- Provide funding for municipal efforts to expand their emergency response programs to include mental health and social services.
- Fully fund police training on techniques and tactics that have a positive, data-driven, impact on violent crime such as increasing the number of homicide detectives and re-prioritizing the warrant backlog taskforce for violent crimes.
- Increase funding for violence interruption organizations like Safe Streets.
Safe and Welcoming Communities
As we work together to make our city more welcoming, prosperous, and equal, we must also seek to heal the collective emotional wounds caused by decades of poverty, inequity, and injustice experienced in too many of our communities.
We must create a stronger civic society that engages people and organizations in every sector, industry, community, and demographic group to empower and mentor our youth, challenge existing stereotypes and build bridges that recognize and embolden our shared experience.
We must also ensure that all of our communities in District 46 are welcoming and inclusive of all Baltimoreans.
As Delegate, I will:
- Continue to bring communities across District 46 together to confront our past and ensure neighborhoods are welcoming and inclusive, building upon the work of the Canton anti-Racism Alliance as the basis for organizing and collaboration.
- Provide innovative support to nonprofits, civic groups, and organizations like Safe Streets Baltimore and Roca that utilize data-driven violence prevention tactics to provide support and rehabilitation services to our communities from the inside out.