Contending that Baltimore’s campaign against violence needs to refocus on illegal guns, Mayor Sheila Dixon laid out initiatives aimed at reducing the number of weapons on the city’s streets, the Baltimore Sun reports. Dixon proposed re-forming a city police gun unit to trace illegal weapons back to the sellers; requiring city residents convicted of gun offenses to report their addresses to the police – much like the state’s sex offender registry; and tracking gun arrests, convictions and sentences with a new program dubbed GunStat.
Ninety-three people have been killed in Baltimore this year – all but 13 from gunshot wounds. Nonfatal shootings have increased, from 176 in 2006 to 233. The proposals drew questions from Paul Blair, head of the city’s police union, who has criticized understaffing of the department and wondered how much more work would now be handed to officers. He added: “We have budget stat. Crime stat. City stat. How many stats do we need? Somebody has to spend some time putting all of these ‘stats’ together.”