Tag Archives: Baltimore City

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Mayor, Police Commissioner Address City Crime

Although crime in Baltimore City has been on the decline for the past three years, homicides are up 6 percent over last year, which deeply concerns Baltimore officials.

BALTIMORE MAYOR - 10.02.2013

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, speaking at a Baltimore Jewish Council meeting, says the city is taking a hard look at crime. Shown here, Rawlings-Blake addresses the community at an earlier date.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts spoke at a Baltimore Jewish Council meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 1 about the triumphs and challenges in keeping illegal guns out of the city, combating violent crime and gang activity and staying ahead of criminal activity.

“All of us know Baltimore deserves to be a safer city, and we know it is an achievable goal,” Rawlings-Blake said.

While there is only one gun store in the city of Baltimore, the city has seized approximately 1,500 guns so far in 2013. Still, the city’s homicide rate is up 6 percent this year, which equates to 10 more homicides than this time last year. In 2011, there were 197 homicides in the city, but that number increased to 217 in 2012. Both numbers are historic lows for the city, and overall crime is still declining.

“We can’t be every place all the time,” Batts

said. “We may not be able to stop the first shooting, but the second, third, fourth, fifth — that is unacceptable.”

Batts was referring to the fact that a lot of the city’s shootings are not isolated incidents; they are often drug- or gang-related, and they are often in retaliation for a previous shooting. When a teenage rapper was shot last month, three related shootings followed, Batts said.

“Bad guys in Baltimore come to work every day, and their career is being criminals,” he said. “They keep on top of things … We need to put them on the defensive.”

With criminals moving around and constantly adjusting to changes in policing, Batts said police need to gather intelligence faster and more efficiently. For 33 years, his police work has involved tracking gangs, and so he is training his officers to identify gang tattoos and graffiti, as well as ways to tell what groups are feuding with each other.

Batts, who traveled to Israel in 2003 to learn about combating terrorism, said he is working to update the police department’s technology and to use technology to quickly gather and disseminate intelligence. When a gang- or drug-related shooting happens, police need to identify the associates of the victim and find out who they are feuding with, He said the force can look to social networks for clues.

The mayor said the city is implementing a comprehensive violence-reduction strategy that addresses violence as a health epidemic and includes elementary and middle school programs, help for offenders and interventions with gang members.

Rikki Spector, District 5 councilwoman, said crime prevention needs to filter down from the

police department to the residents.

“You have to live, work, play and learn in Baltimore,” she said.

With 1.6 million people working in Baltimore but only 640,000 living in the city, there is a disparity in taxes, with the income tax of those who work in the city going to the state and the property tax of those who live in the city going to the city.

While her district, which includes Northwest Baltimore, grows with every population count, she wishes the same was happening in other districts.

“Vitality gives safety,” Spector said.

 

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Locked In

©iStockphoto.com/selensergen

©iStockphoto.com/selensergen

The proposed changes to the teen curfew in the city of Baltimore don’t have much support in the city’s District 5 office.

“I don’t see any advantage,” said Baltimore City Councilwoman Rochelle Spector, adding that she will learn more about the proposal when it reaches the hearing stage. “I’m not sure that it’s building a better mousetrap.”

If approved, the new curfew, proposed by City Councilman Brandon M. Scott earlier this month, will change the times at which young people must be off city streets to an age-based system. Children under the age of 14 would have to be indoors by 9 p.m. year-round. Teens between 14 and 16 would have to be in by 10 p.m. on weeknights and 11 p.m. on weekends and during summer. The maximum fine would also be increased to $500.

Curfews are not new to the city. Current law mandates that all people under the age of 17 may not be in any public place or establishment after midnight on weekends and 11 p.m. on weekdays. It is also unlawful for any parent or guardian to knowingly permit his or her child to violate this curfew. Those minors in violation of the curfew may be detained by police but not arrested, and no mark is made on their criminal record. Parents or guardians in violation of the subtitle may also receive a fine of up to $300, imprisonment for a maximum of 60 days or sentenced to community service.

The proposed system would allow minors and their families to avoid a civil citation by attending a family-strengthening program.

In her district, District 5, the Northwest portion of the city, Spector said juvenile behavior has been a problem, but she is wary of an across-the-board fix to a complicated problem. With organizations such as Northwest Citizen’s Patrol and Shomrim, along with the local police precinct, Spector said the situation in her district is better than that of many other regions of the city.

“When we identify an area or situation, it really gets focused attention and resources,” she said.

Exceptions would remain in place for minors accompanied by a parent or returning home from work or a school or religious function.

Baltimore has gained national attention over the years for its murder rate, which rests at the sixth highest in the U.S. among cities with populations of 100,000 people or more, according to FBI data. According to the city of Baltimore’s Comstat data, Baltimore police have made 32,718 arrests in 2013, and of those, 2,487 (7.6 percent) were juveniles. While this figure is almost identical to the rate in cities such as Washington, D.C., where 7.3 percent of 2012 arrests were juveniles, part of Scott’s motive behind his proposal is to help reduce truancy in city schools and improve student performance, he told Nathan Sterner on 88.1 FM’s “Midday with Dan Rodricks” last Tuesday.

Said Councilwoman Spector: “Police can’t be the answer to parents or those who are responsible for these children.”

Rikki Spector says that for Northwest Baltimore she does not see an advantage to a teen curfew.

Locked In: Curfew Proposition On The Table For Baltimore City

The proposed changes to the teen curfew in the city of Baltimore don’t have much support in the city’s District 5 office.

Rikki Spector says that for Northwest Baltimore she does not see an advantage to a teen curfew.

Rikki Spector says that for Northwest Baltimore she does not see an advantage to a teen curfew.

“I don’t see any advantage,” said Baltimore City Councilwoman Rochelle Spector, adding that she will learn more about the proposal when it reaches the hearing stage. “I’m not sure that it’s building a better mouse trap.”

If approved, the new curfew, proposed by City Councilman Brandon M. Scott earlier this month, will change the times at which young people must be off city streets to an age-based system. Children under the age of 14 would have to be indoors by 9 p.m. year-round. Teens between 14 and 16 would have to be in by 10 p.m. on weeknights and 11 p.m. on weekends and during summer. The maximum fine would also be increased to $500.

Curfews are not new to the city. Current law mandates that all people under the age of 17 may not be in any public place or establishment after midnight on weekends and 11 p.m. on weekdays. It is also unlawful for any parent or guardian to knowingly permit his or her child to violate this curfew. Those minors in violation of the curfew may be detained by police, but not arrested, and no mark is made on their criminal record. Parents or guardians in violation of the subtitle may also receive a fine of up to $300, imprisonment for a maximum of 60 days, or sentenced to community service.

The proposed system would allow minors and their families to avoid a civil citation by attending a family-strengthening program.

In her district, District 5, The Northwest portion of the city, Spector said juvenile behavior has been a problem, but she is wary of an across-the-board fix to a complicated problem. With organizations like the Northwest Citizen’s Patrol and Shomrim, along with the local police precinct, Spector said the situation in her district is better than that of many other regions of the city.

“When we identify an area or situation, it really gets focused attention and resources,” she said.

Exceptions would remain in place for minors accompanied by a parent or returning home from work or a school or religious function.

Baltimore has gained national attention over the years for its murder rate, which rests at the 6th-highest in the U.S. among cities with populations of 100,000 people or more, according to FBI data. According to the city of Baltimore’s Comstat data, Baltimore Police have made 32,718 arrests in 2013 and of those, 2,487 (7.6 percent) were juveniles. While this figure is almost identical to the rate in cities like Washington, D.C., where 7.3 percent of 2012 arrests were juveniles, part of Councilman Scott’s motive behind his proposal is to help reduce truancy in the city schools and improve student performance, he told Nathan Sterner on 88.1 FM’s “Midday with Dan Rodricks” last Tuesday.

Said Councilwoman Spector: “Police can’t be the answer to parents or those who are responsible for these children.”

Stormwater Fee Legislation

In response to questions received since the Stormwater Fee legislation was passed by the City Council, below is an FAQ one-sheet from the Department of Public Works website.

VIEW FAQs>>

The Department of Public Works is now in the process of drawing up the precise regulations. When that is completed (later this summer), there will be an on-line application process for requesting credits. When that timeline becomes available, the JT will pass it on to you.

Stormwater fee billing does not begin until October.