Earlier this month, Governor Larry Hogan “unveiled” several not-so-new initiatives geared towards combating violent crime in Baltimore. Instead of offering new solutions, Hogan spent his press conference criticizing the crime-fighting proposals of Baltimore City mayor, Catherine Pugh, arguing that it put too much emphasis on providing services to young people as a means for deterring criminal activity long-term instead of addressing the current crisis.
Under Hogan’s “new” plan, there would be an increase in community patrols by both Maryland State Police and transportation agencies, increased surveillance of individuals on parole and probation, additional support for serving warrants, the establishment of a “cross-jurisdictional crime-fighting council,” and legislation supporting harsher sentences for violent offenders. However, as Mayor Pugh has noted, little of Hogan’s newly unveiled plan is actually new.
While the Governor’s tough talk on combating crime may provide a political sound bite, he continues to fail to deliver. Some of the Hogan administration’s ideas which have been proposed have already been implemented by local jurisdictions without the backing of the state, which has often than not found itself behind the curve in the fight against crime.
Instead of working for real solutions, Gov. Hogan starts petty feuds with city leaders, earlier this year Hogan was criticized for denying State Senator Bill Ferguson and City Councilman Brandon Scott the right to attend the August meeting of the Criminal Justice Council. Actions such as this, undermine the fact that criminal justice reform requires a combined effort of state and local government and the general public
Hogan has also faced criticism for his irresponsible approach to the funding of Baltimore’s “Safe Streets” program, an anti-violence initiative centered on using ex-convicts as mediators in the communities that once served as the backdrop for their criminal acts. Baltimore city is on pace to end 2017 with an estimated 1,000 shootings. For a Governor who seems so outraged and concerned over the high crime rate in Baltimore City, you would think that he would have made it a priority to safeguard proven initiatives that have been vital to the anti-violence cause.