Martin O’Malley ran for mayor of Baltimore in 1999 on one issue: crime. The New York Times reports that O’Malley “became obsessed with crime statistics. His days started with the blurt of a fax machine and the latest overnight numbers: homicides, aggravated assaults, armed robberies.” He “vowed to keep murders below 300 a year and to close 10 open-air drug markets. In his first year in office, he did both.” O’Malley also adopted the slogan “believe” to symbolize his hope.
Baltimore leads the nation’s biggest cities with a 26 percent decrease in serious crime since 1999. The city has doubled spending on drug treatment, to $62 million from $29 million. But the Times says that problems remain, as evidenced in the case of drug dealer Darrell Brooks, who pled guilty last week in an arson case that killed seven people, five of them children.