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Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott rolls out multi-year violence reduction plan

Brandon Scott unveils Baltimore City crime reduction plan
Posted at 12:43 PM, Jul 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-23 18:08:53-04

BALTIMORE — Mayor Brandon Scott on Friday joined other local, state, and federal leaders at three different events to roll out Baltimore's crime reduction plan.

It's made up of three pillars set over five-years.

The first pillar is based on taking a public health approach to violence.

That includes gun violence prevention, victim services, youth justice, and trauma healing.

Many of those objectives are already being addressed.

Back in March, the Baltimore Police Department unveiled a new technology tool detectives are using to track illegal guns in the city.

It's a portal that integrates data from the department's E-Trace system, recovered ballistic evidence, and ShotSpotter Alerts that assists investigators in narrowing down where guns are coming from and how they are connected to crimes being committed.

Leaders including Scott have long claimed a majority of guns used in violent crime throughout the city come from other jurisdictions and out-of-state.

As for youth justice, there are currently efforts underway statewide to not only end existing laws that allow juveniles to be charged as adults for certain crimes, but also the potential of a life sentence for committing those acts.

The city itself is looking at ways of intervention, prevention, and rehabilitation as opposed to imprisonment for offenders.

Youth aren't the only ones the city wants to reduce incarceration rates for.

At the beginning of the pandemic, Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced she would no longer prosecute several low-level offenses. She also wiped out 1,500 active arrest warrants.

Governor Larry Hogan and others criticized the policy in the past, but recently even U.S. District Court Judge James K. Bredar, who oversees the federal consent decree between police and the Department of Justice, expressed some concern.

Despite that, Mosby has stood firm including on Friday saying, "it’s about resource allocation."

When it comes to trauma many Baltimore residents experience as victims of violence, different measures have been taken at the city and state levels dating back to 2019.

Locally, Councilman Zeke Cohen created the Trauma-Informed Care Task Force through a bill he sponsored, that calls for city agency employees to become trained in how to treat trauma.

The General Assembly followed suit in April by passing the Healing Maryland's Trauma Act.

Then there is victim services and inter-agency collaboration, the latter of which is part of pillar two.

For months now the city has been diverting some 911 calls to mental health professionals instead of police.

Pillar two is also based on community engagement.

Some of that is job opportunities for inner city residents. For his part, Scott intends to suspend drug screening for applicants seeking non-public safety jobs within city government.

The third and final pillar involves evaluating the roll out and holding city agencies accountable for implementing it.

Scott's goal is to reduce homicides by 15 percent annually.

The city has experienced 300 or more homicides consecutively since 2015. So far, 192 murders have been reported in 2021.

Updates on the plan's progress will be provided to the city council biennially, in accordance with a 2020 law sponsored by Scott when he was Council President.

The entire plan can be read below.