ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan on Tuesday made a series of announcements to address violent crime in the Baltimore area, one week after the city surpassed 300 homicides for the seventh year in a row.
“People are being shot nearly every single day in Baltimore City, and we all have an obligation to do something about it right now,” said Governor Hogan. “With all of the actions we have announced today, I want those families and all the victims of this violence to know that we will not stop pursuing those criminals who are terrorizing our community, and we will continue to use every tool at our disposal to make these neighborhoods safer and to get these violent shooters off the streets.”
Fast-Tracking and Expanding Neighborhood Safety Grants Program
The state is immediately fast-tracking and expanding its $10 million Neighborhood Safety Grants program to include places of worship and vulnerable communities. These grants will support hardware upgrades, lighting, cameras, and increased security services for community organizations and business districts. This program is part of the state’s $150 million Re-Fund The Police initiative, which provides greatly increased funding to state and local police agencies to pay for body cameras, de-escalation training, hiring more officers, victims services, and community policing initiatives.
Orders Review of Funding for State’s Attorney’s Office
The governor has directed the Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services to conduct a top-to-bottom evaluation of all funding provided to the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office. This funding will remain under review until that office provides complete data regarding:
- The number of cases the office has chosen not to prosecute, including a breakdown of the reasons for non-prosecution
- The number of cases pled down to lesser charges, including plea agreements reached that are less than mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines
- The number of repeat-offenders who were offered plea deals
Urges Baltimore Police Department to Redouble Tactical Efforts In High-Crime Areas
The state is urging the Baltimore Police Department to redouble their tactical efforts in high-crime areas of the city. This includes re-establishing district, sector, and/or community patrols in high crime areas, deploying command or specialty vehicles and non-patrol personnel to supplement district personnel with visible foot and vehicle patrols in data-driven locations, deploying lighting and traffic control measures in known crime corners and areas, and expanding community policing efforts to help increase quality of life.
Will Reintroduce Crime Legislation During Special Session
The governor announced that he will reintroduce legislation to address violent crime during early December’s special session of the Maryland General Assembly:
- The Violent Firearms Offender Act significantly toughens penalties for offenders who use and illegally possess firearms, as well as those who illegally supply firearms to criminals.
- The Judicial Transparency Act will require the Maryland State Commission on Criminal Sentencing Policy to track and publish detailed information on the sentences that are handed down by judges for violent crimes.
The governor thanked the Maryland Senate for supporting these measures in the past, and will introduce them as emergency legislation so that they can take effect immediately upon enactment.
Tuesday’s announcements follow actions the governor announced last week in response to another string of violent crimes in the city. State law enforcement agencies have conducted 557 high visibility patrol checks over the last week. In addition to now doubling all Metro Crime Stoppers rewards that lead to arrests, the state is offering an additional $100,000 reward in the murder of 69-year-old Evelyn Player.
In addition, the governor announced that his office has reached out to Mayor Brandon Scott’s office to set up a meeting in the coming weeks.
To date, the Hogan administration has committed more than $1 billion to public safety and crime control efforts in Baltimore City.
Video from Tuesday’s announcement can be viewed below.