After a deadly weekend with six homicides, Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon yesterday outlined a long-awaited crime-fighting strategy, says the Baltimore Sun. It includes targeting the most dangerous offenders, cracking down on illegal guns, and strengthening community partnerships. Many of the proposals expand on existing initiatives, such as safe zones, and resurrect old crime-fighting strategies, such as zeroing in on Baltimore’s most violent offenders – an approach heralded by criminologist David Kennedy of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, who worked with the city in the late 1990s and was consulted on the current plan. Dixon’s strategy departed from the zero-tolerance policies of the previous administration, which led some to complain that too many citizens were being wrongfully arrested.
“This is the right strategy for this administration because the streets now, we believe, are manageable,” said Police Commissioner Leonard Hamm said. “Still violent, but manageable.” “Good news” statistics showed that Dixon’s strategies – many already in practice – have coincided with an overall 17 percent drop in violent crime during her first 100 days. Police reported seizing 881 illegal guns. No mention was made of the persistent number of homicides, which reached 91 last night, compared with 88 at the same time last year. Dixon said, “I believe that the homicide rate will go down as a result of this plan.”