The Mayor of Baltimore, Brandon Scott, held a press conference on Wednesday to announce that his plan to combat violent crime in the city is working, according to The Baltimore Sun. During a press conference held at City Hall, Scott announced a 10 percent increase in arrests.
Scott said that his plan to stop violent crimes in Baltimore includes freeing up police officers to pursue violent crimes, deploying resources to neighborhoods to help prevent shootings, and providing traumatized communities help to cope.
“It is clear that we are moving forward but that this work has just begun, because for me, one homicide, one shooting is one too many,” said the mayor.
“You have my commitment as the mayor of Baltimore, and more importantly as a Baltimorean, a son of Baltimore, that we continue to push ourselves to improve and deepen this work.”
More than 300 people have died from homicide in Baltimore for the eighth consecutive year. Of the 321 killings in Baltimore through Dec. 17, Baltimore police officers have arrested 111 suspects. The police have also seized 300 more guns by Dec. 17 of 2022 than on that same day in 2021.
Police Commissioner Michael Harrison also praised the arrest increases, which he attributed to the department’s innovation, technology, and maximization of resources, despite the city’s police officer shortage.
“All of this is happening with a greatly reduced workforce,” he said. “Our progress in transforming the department is clear, but there are many challenges that still exist and we continue to face an uphill battle with staffing, concerning recruiting new hires and retaining experienced officers.”
“Simply put, we do not have enough sworn officers to do everything we want to do all the time, exactly when we want.”
The Baltimore Police Department is under a federal decree for the death of Freddie Gray in 2015. Gray spent seven days in a coma before he died from injuries he sustained while in police custody. The actions of the city’s Gun Trace Task Force resulted in more than $16 million in settlements due to corrupt officers.
The leader of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement, Shantay Jackson, said that her office has been successful in helping traumatized communities. Jackson noted that of the 81 people her office offered services to, 71 accepted the help.
“We know that more work lies ahead to increase and maintain sustainable outcomes for our communities and we know this work is not ever going to be done until we see zero homicides, zero nonfatal shootings and zero Baltimoreans who are impacted by the residual trauma that violence causes,” she said.
“My police department this year with 500 less officers that they’ve had in 2014 and 2015 seized more guns and made more guns arrests of people with violent guns…than they did when we had more cops because we’re not making them the end be all,” Scott said at a fireside chat at BLACK ENTERPRISE’s Black Men Xcel Summit this year.