Recently it seems almost impossible to avoid hearing about shootings and murders in Baltimore City.
While the city is seeing fewer homicides than this time last year, an uptick in crime this past week has many officials worried. On Monday afternoon, acting Commissioner Gary Tuggle held a press conference to address this troubling trend.
“This is not going to be easy, this situation did not get started overnight, it's not going to get fixed overnight," Tuggle said.
He said they have been tracking the uptick in crime since September 24, announcing 19 people have been killed since then.
“It is important to underscore that you can’t control human behavior at the end of the day. You can try and get in front of actions that somebody might take, but in terms of dictating behavior, it’s almost impossible. It’s our job to look at the data and try to get ahead of those actions.”
In an effort to respond and prevent more crimes, Tuggle announced he has suspended all leave for police personnel to get more uniformed officers on the streets. Officers will not be able to take off for the next couple days unless it's an emergency, and they will be focusing on areas that have a historical value in violence, and where there might be retribution.
NEW: These are the men and women overseeing the deployment of an additional 527 @BaltimorePolice officers over the next several days. Interim Commissioner Tuggle said every district will see more patrol officers. All leave suspended for the next 3 days. @WMAR2News pic.twitter.com/tPo2m1acER
— Mallory Sofastaii WMAR (@mal_sofastaii) October 1, 2018
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Tuggle acknowledged this is going to cost the city a lot of money in overtime, but he says it is something they have to do.
“If somebody is intent on pulling the trigger against somebody else it is probably going to happen at some point, but the deployments we are doing are meant to try to intercede in that in some way or disrupt what might be going on,” Tuggle explained.
Tuggle is also asking the public to pitch in. He says keeping these officers on the streets instead of responding to non-emergencies will potentially help with the crime problem. If you have an issue that doesn't require an officer on the scene, call 311, file a police report at your nearest station or on the app, or call 911 and file a report with the operator.
By having officers not respond to non-emergencies, Tuggle says they will hopefully be able to patrol more in areas that need it and prevent more crimes.
“The thing that I can guarantee is we will have the presence out there, and that this most recent deployment is meant to do that, It’s meant to show a presence and serve as a deterrent. But this goes to a much more systemic issue that we are having, and that is that we simply don’t have enough police, that's the bottom line.”
Tuggle also said on Monday police morale has been down because of the recent shootings, but that is not going to stop his efforts in making Baltimore safer.
“Most police officers are involved in the work because they want to be able to serve the community, and everybody, every resident of Baltimore deserves an effective police service. When you are not being effective and you want to be that can have an impact on your morale. I think with our recent deployment efforts, giving officers the opportunity to be more proactive, particularly in terms of their patrolling, will help them serve better and in term help them with the level of morale.”
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