BALTIMORE — Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison held a news conference on Tuesday afternoon, alongside the Deputy Chief of Patrol and Chief of Detectives, to discuss the police department's next steps to drive down crime in the city.
The address comes after seven people were shot and killed between last Friday and Monday night.
Harrison spoke about the city's spike in crime, calling it a "culture of violence" where criminals are not afraid of consequences from the criminal justice system. He says that it needs to change, and in an effort to change its course, the department has reassigned several officers from specialized units to the Eastern District and used historical crime date to identify "micro zones" where violent crime is likely to happen.
Officers will make 20-minute patrol stops on foot three times during their shift in these targeted areas.
VIEW THE NEWS CONFERENCE BELOW:
This initiative is part of a larger crime reduction strategy the department and the Baltimore State's Attorney plan to present to the state by August 1.
Harrison said part of the strategy is to allow community engagement with the officers patrolling the areas.
"The officers are certainly looking for individuals who are committing violations," said Harrison. "It is a comprehensive set of duties we want them to perform in specific times and specific days of the weeks and all of that we'll outline in the near future."
The President of the Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police released a statement on the commissioner's micro zone strategy. He says the department has tried similar strategies before, and they did not help with the reduction of crime.
VIEW BALTIMORE CITY FOP STATEMENT BELOW:
Harrison responded to the Baltimore City FOP's concerns about the new strategy at the news conference.
"True leadership is defined by someone who can remain focus and not be swayed by negative comments and opinions." said Harrison.
Harrison is encouraging members of the community to speak up about the crime happening in the areas. He believes with the help of the community, officers will be able to solve crimes and arrest criminals.
"And so we're asking people to be able to call [Metro] Crime Stoppers. Many times that information can be given anonymously, and we will work with those tips to try and solve these crimes," said Harrison.