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PUBLIC SAFETY

Baltimoreans deserve to live in a community where they do not fear the threat of violence or property crime. However, today, Baltimore's crime rates remain unacceptably high and our success at solving crimes remains unacceptably low.  Vince believes the time is now to reimagine our criminal justice system so that communities can develop working relationships with law enforcement and equality before the law is applied regardless of who you are.

CURRENT FACTS

  • In an average year, 724 people die and 1,747 are wounded by guns in Maryland. Maryland has the 22nd-highest rate of gun violence in the US.

  • Baltimore has recorded 338 homicides in 2021, compared to 335 homicides a year earlier. 
     

  • Murder clearance rates in Baltimore rose in 2021 however they remain unacceptably low: investigators solved 41.6% of homicide cases in 2021, compared to 38.4% in 2020. Baltimore is well below the national average - - the homicide clearance rate in comparative cities is 54.7%, according to data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program.
     

  • Nonfatal shootings in 2021 dropped by less than 1%, from 670 in 2020 to 664 in 2021.
     

  • The clearance rates for nonfatal shootings also ticked upwards; 26.2% of nonfatal shootings were solved in 2021, compared to 20.2% in 2020.
     

  • We know that gun violence in Baltimore is typically perpetrated by a small group of repeat offenders. Between 2015 and 2018, 26% of murders  occurred in 12 neighborhoods. 

  • Overall, the rate of gun deaths increased 36% from 2010 to 2019, compared to a 17% increase nationwide. Maryland has the 24th-highest societal cost of gun violence in the US at $949 per person each year. Gun deaths and injuries cost Maryland $6 billion, of which $376 million is paid by taxpayers.

POLICY POSITION

  • Study after study shows that the best way to reduce crime is by increasing the likelihood that a person who commits a crime gets caught. To do this, we must reimagine the police as a community-based model that focuses on swiftness and certainty in their response.
     

  • By moving towards a "community" policing model that enables communities to participate more actively in the public safety and justice process, the system will see higher-quality cases with a higher chance of conviction. This can occur by enhancing confidential information pathways, increasing witness protection programs and empowering civilian review boards and other community oversight structures.   
     

  • Vince will also work to ensure that we increase the likelihood that a person who commits a crime gets caught by focusing resources to increase the 1) swiftness and 2) certainty with which our police respond to crimes. 
    1) Swiftness: The police must both quickly respond to reports of crime and must quickly apprehend the person who commited the crime. 
    2) Certainty: Our justice system must ensure that it has apprehended the correct person, without violating their constitutional rights.

     

  • Swiftness and Certainty can be achieved by integrating our public safety professionals into the community so that folks have a relationship with their officers and the supporting fire fighters, EMTs, social workers and other personnel and can better engage with the justice system. 
     

  • To achieve this, we must also fully staff those City and State agencies which are integral to reducing crime and ensuring access to justice, from our Parole and Probation Services to our Judges, court staff, prosecutors and public defenders.

  • We are also fortunate to live in a time where the breadth of data available to us can be used to target those bad actors who have been identified as committing significant amounts of crime. Through the use of crime statistics, calls for services, and historical trends we can refocus efforts on community patrol and deploy officers to combat those known actors who perpetuate so much of the violence. 
     

  • Fundamentally, the police can only do their jobs effectively if all our communities engage with the justice process. Unfortunately today, the only time members of our society interact with the police is during the worst moment of our lives, when we are either being stopped for a crime or we are the victims of a crime. Additionally, today, police are too slow to respond and cases are often dropped due to inadequate investigative work, shoddy report writing, or unconstitutional search practices - and this only perpetuates a system of recidivism.
     

  • Therefore, we must create mechanisms systems that alleviates the  "communities" vs. "police" mentality which exists today - - whereby every community has input into the department charged with their safety

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