Maryland has a problem. That problem is called Baltimore. In particular, Baltimore has a serious problem with crime.
Of course, the rest of the state is seeing an increase in criminal activity, too, but much of the problem is in the largest city in the state.
That’s far from unusual by any stretch.
But Gov. Larry Hogan–whose name always makes me think of Hogan’s Heroes–has announced a new effort to try and combat crime in his state.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced $45 million in initiatives Thursday to address “out-of-control violent crime” in Baltimore. The governor also called on lawmakers to pass legislation he supports to crack down on violent criminals.
Hogan made the announcement as violent crime continues to bedevil Baltimore, the state’s largest city, where there have been more than 300 homicides in each of the last seven years.
“The murders, shootings and out-of-control violent crime in the streets of Baltimore is the most important issue facing the city and the No. 1 concern of Marylanders, but 71 days have now passed since the legislative session began without them taking action on our emergency crime bill.”
The funding includes $3.5 million to pay for more than 30 new positions in the U.S. attorney’s office to increase prosecutions of violent offenders. It also includes $35 million to fully fund victims’ service providers to make up for cuts in federal funding, Hogan said. Another $6.5 million will help Baltimore police beef up its warrant apprehension task force.
In other words, it’s not exactly going to the worst places to spend money when you’re trying to reduce crime in the long run.
The question is, is it enough?
While $45 million would be more than enough for any of us to live pretty for the rest of our lives if we were careful, it’s a drop in the bucket in the world of government spending, right?
Well, not so much.
The entire budget for the state of Maryland for 2022 is $52 billion. That’s an 86 percent increase, which isn’t exactly a small amount. I mean, would you turn down an 86 percent increase in pay? Of course not. Who would?
But again, is it really enough? I mean, I don’t think Hogan would be able to spend more than that–yes, it’s likely spread out over multiple years, so it’s not like he’s dropping all of this at once, but still…–but that’s not really the question.
I’m not sure it’s enough and, frankly, I’m not sure it’s all getting where it’s needed the most to actually reduce crime.
With $35 million going to victim services, more than three-quarters are addressing the aftermath of criminal actions, not the crime itself. That means less than a quarter is actually going to be there to prevent new victims.
I have sympathy for those who are the victims of crime, but I’m not convinced this is the best ratio possible if you actually want to deal with criminal activity. Thankfully, I don’t have to live in Maryland, so if Hogan’s spending ratio doesn’t work out, I won’t have to live with the consequences.
However, I suppose time will tell one way or the other.