The city of Baltimore has a problem with violent crime. Of course, most places have a problem with violent crime right now, but Baltimore had one even before the surge in homicides kicked off last year. Needless to say, the current state of things hasn’t exactly calmed the situation, either.
As in most other cities, officials are struggling to find a way to address the problem.
In Baltimore, though, a former FBI agent has some thoughts.
Baltimore just saw its second most deadly month this year with 31 murders in 30 days in September.
At least 258 people have been killed in the city this year, with the level of violence on pace to have more than 300 murders for the seventh straight year.
The mayor promised to reduce violence his first year in office by 15 percent.
“I don’t know if it’s possible. It certainly doesn’t look like it’s going to be possible this year. It could be possible in the future with a consolidated plan, a focused concentration,” says former FBI agent Dr. Tyrone Powers.
“The fact they’ve come together and said we’re going to talk together, we’re going to work together, we’re going to have a single message I think is important,” says Dr. Powers.
But he says they’ve got to follow through on the promise.
Powers isn’t wrong.
To address the issue, everyone has to be on the same page. It only takes one group getting off that page to screw everything up. In fact, a prime example comes up a bit later, though I disagree with how Powers frames it.
City state’s attorney Marilyn Mosby says her office will no longer prosecute drug possession, but will still go after distribution.
The policy changes leading to confusion with police, but Powers says it should be simple.
“Police officers see a criminal violation, if it’s the policy of the police department from the leadership of the police commissioner to make an arrest, make the arrest and worry about the prosecution later. Don’t blame the fact that I don’t need to make the arrest because they won’t be prosecuted. It’s not your job to worry about prosecution,” he says. “The infighting, that conversation again should be between the police commissioner and state’s attorney and then we can have clear and tangible results and save some lives.”
Do you know what you call an arrest with no chance of prosecution? An inconvenience.
Powers may be right, that law enforcement’s job is to make arrests, not worry about prosecution, but just how many times can you expect them to arrest the same people before they just decide not to bother?
It may be their job, but police are human. Frustration is real, especially when you realize you’re just going through the motions because no one else will do their jobs.
Mosby’s job is to prosecute criminal activity, and she’s simply not doing it. She’s decided unilaterally not to prosecute an entire series of criminal acts because it’s politically popular. In the process, police feel like they’re beating their heads against the wall.
In other words, the city state’s attorney’s office simply isn’t on the same page as everyone else.
That’s on the voters in Baltimore, though. They elected her and they can boot her out of office. If they want their city cleaned up, they have to start with prosecuting people for breaking those laws. Plain and simple.