BALTIMORE — The state is investing $45 million more to address crime in Baltimore City.
Gov. Larry Hogan announced the major crime fighting initiatives Thursday, which include expanding the city police warrant apprehension task force and putting money into the U.S. Attorney’s Office to get repeat offenders off the streets.
Some anti-activists are hopeful, but they want to see more comprehensive reform to address the cycle of violence and help the city’s youth.
“Individuals who are getting murdered today, losing their families or getting harmed currently will find themselves in those same cycles,” said Darren Rogers, executive director of I AM MENtality youth male empowerment project.
Gov. Hogan said getting repeat violent offenders off the streets is his priority.
Beginning July 1, Maryland State Police troopers will take over patrols in high crime areas and I-83 to free up city officers.
Hogan said only about 10% of Baltimore murders are turning into first-degree convictions and he thinks federal prosecutors can do better. That’s why he announced $3.5 million in state funding for 30 new positions in the U.S. Attorney’s Office to ramp up federal prosecutions of repeat violent offenders.
He also announced $6.5 million to help the Baltimore Police Department beef up its warrant apprehension task force to expedite outstanding warrants to get violent offenders off the streets.
Finally, $35 million toward victim services that was cut at the federal level.
Rogers agreed with Hogan that we need to be tougher on crime and support police but he said the initiatives announced Thursday aren’t quick fixes. There isn’t one.
“I think each and every one of us would love to solve this problem tomorrow but sadly, our city is a city that’s laden with violence,” said Rogers.
He also acknowledged that money can’t fix everything.
“I also believe there is a dire need for collaboration between the state and the city. We see that as a fractured relationship so if we could build upon that relationship. I think we could produce some greater results and outcomes,” said Rogers.
Alex Long, who founded the Team Redemption youth boxing gym, was discouraged by the announcement. He thinks the funding is misplaced and it should instead go towards addressing the root causes to curb crime over time.
“We are struggling to keep our doors open and we are the safe havens of our city,” said Long. “That’s the way you change the city. We got to give our kids better options other than the streets.”
Hogan said they’ve invested billions to address root causes but there’s no other way to get criminals off the streets than by making sure they are arrested and convicted.
Rogers questions where that funding has gone.
“Even if he says he’s investing at that level, it’s not necessarily materializing so we just have to hold individuals accountable who are receiving funds,” said Rogers.
Mayor Brandon Scott released this statement following the announcement:
"I want to thank Governor Hogan for allocating $6.5 million towards enhanced coordination between state and local law enforcement. We both understand just how critically important it is to get our most violent offenders off the streets of Baltimore. We discussed this coordination when Commissioner Harrison and I met with the Governor last month. I will continue to work with any partners who can bring additional resources to sustainably, urgently, and holistically address violent crime to make Baltimore a safer place for all of our residents.”