BALTIMORE — Baltimore City is on pace to surpass 300 homicides for the seventh year in a row. When the year comes to a close, more than half of them could go unsolved.
“I heard from many members of the police department and others, the larger the reward, the more people call in,” said City Councilman Yitzy Schleifer.
Schleifer believes that number could go down by increasing reward money offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect.
“There’s nothing else that cost so little money that gives you such a great return on investment,” he said.
He proposed legislation earlier this year to create a fund that would supplement the reward money. There was a hearing on the proposal on Tuesday.
“The money comes from a whole variety of sources. For these funding sources, you typically get from foundations, businesses, different revenue sources," he said.
Last week, Governor Larry Hogan announced the state’s commitment to match the crime stoppers reward as part of his “Refund the Police Initiative”.
If the city creates the fund, Schleifer said it could bring the reward up to 10,000 dollars.
“And we know that when you see that $10,000 with all the extra zeros on a flyer, it draws people’s attention,” he said. “And the more attention we have on these incidents, the more cases will be resolved.”
Schleifer said a 30,000 reward was crucial in finding the suspects in the murder of an Israeli man shot and killed in Baltimore earlier this year.
“We need to make sure that there is an equitable award system across the entire city. That somebody who gets killed in West Baltimore has the same reward for the conviction of their murderer as someone in Northwest Baltimore,” he said.
He said this fund would be a small price to pay to bring closure to more families in Baltimore.
If the legislation passes city council, it would be placed on the ballot for Baltimore voters to decide.