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5 year Crime plan: strong on metrics, vague on method

Posted at 6:40 PM, Jul 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-26 18:40:20-04

BALTIMORE — Now that Mayor Scott has laid out his administration's 5-year plan aimed at reducing violent crime across Baltimore, stakeholders are taking aim at the plan's details.

If the plan is successful over the next five years, homicides will be reduced by more than 250 percent.

While his metrics are getting praise, it's his method that's being called into question.

Mayor Scott laid out clear objectives for reducing violent crime across Baltimore, mainly homicides, sharing his administration's comprehensive crime plan aiming to to reduce homicides by 15 percent every year.

WMAR2 did the math on the metrics he laid out.

The biggest reduction in homicides will have to take place this year, in year one which aims to drop Baltimore's homicide victims by at least 50 from last year.

"I am not naive to the work that we have ahead. This is a lot of work for all of us," Scott shared Friday,

"We're pretty well-prepared for what those key performance indicators need to be and what they're going to be," shared Director Jackson.

Some across the city are buying into his vision.

"I bought into it. alright? But i haven't eaten it yet," said one supporter.

Others weren't so quick to support it.

"I'm totally unimpressed. It's the same old song, same old song," said one critic of the plan.

We put the 35 page-document into the hands of former Deputy Attorney General of Maryland, Thiru Vignarajah who says the plan looks oddly familiar.

"The new plan looks a lot like the old plan. a lot of the same buzzwords and catchphrases: collaboration, public health crisis, comprehensive strategy, violent repeat offenders," said Vignarajah.

Objectives he was looking for in the mayor's plan were a clear strategy to recruit and retain quality BPD officers who would ultimately make or break the mayor's plan.

He was hoping to hear, aside from taking a public health approach, more immediate avenues to remedy Baltimore's gun violence epidemic.

"Not just over the next 5 years but next 5 months because people are dying right now," he argued.

But the mayor did outline concrete metrics where we can measure his administration's success.

According to what's been laid out, homicides should drop by 50 this year, 42 the following year, 36 the year after that and by 2026, homicides should be down under 130.
The question of substance looming is "how?"

"It's a big goal to set with very few details that are new. Even the new things, diverting 9-1-1 calls to safety injection sites, don't really address the core problems of gang and gun violence," said Vignarajah.

With a force nearly 260 officers short based on its budget according to Commissioner Harrision, Vignarajah notes the absence of any goals outlined to recruit and retain officers to carry out their plan.

Even if the 260 officer deficit was addressed, he outlines the disconnect between prosecution and patrol giving criminals the wrong message

"They are seeing there are no consequences for their crimes, big or small. they're not getting caught, not being prosecuted. they're not being convicted," he added.

Perhaps the earliest test for the Mayor's crime plan is to see if the City of Baltimore can stay beneath 285 homicides for the year and of course that's going to have its own set of challenges.