The following is an op-ed piece from Councilman David Marks…
Make no mistake—crime is the top concern in Baltimore County right now. Around Thanksgiving weekend, our county set a record for homicides. Crime is affecting every type of community, with shootings in places like Milford Mill, Towson, and Middle River that are scattered throughout the county. It must be addressed, and I believe in several fundamental ways.
Candidly, there is nothing more important right now than to have more police on the street. Law enforcement throughout the United States is dealing with recruitment and retention issues, and in Baltimore County, many officers who began service in the early 1990s are now retiring. The county is aggressively working to fill dozens of Police Department vacancies. As Councilman, I will support whatever funding is necessary to recruit and retain police officers, whether through hiring bonuses, improved health care, or other incentives.
We need to strengthen the padlock law, which gives police the power to shutter troubled businesses. No action ever seems to be taken against long-troubled properties, such as those along the Joppa Road corridor near Loch Raven Boulevard. That needs to change.
We need to continue to expand neighborhood watch programs and work with civic groups. I am partnering with our state legislators, for example, to try to build a community center and police substation in Dunfield, as an example.
I will continue to support strategies to reduce the likelihood of crime—mental health, for example, is driving some of the most recent homicides—but believe we must be very careful not to embrace lax prosecution policies. Baltimore County has traditionally had a strong record with many prosecutions. I do not want this county to go the way of other jurisdictions that ignore “lesser” crimes.
I look forward to working with all our stakeholders for a better 2022, starting with reducing crime.
Councilman David Marks