In Baltimore, a city where leaders have for years tried and failed to curtail one of the nation’s highest crime rates, a University of Maryland law professor has turned his classroom into a crime-fighting think tank, says the Baltimore Sun. Prof. Orde Kittrie is challenging his 13 students this semester to come up with workable ideas for making Baltimore and the rest of Maryland a safer place to live. The proposals will be sent to public officials at their request, including chief prosecutor Patricia Jessamy and Attorney General Douglas Gansler.
One student, Bill Ferguson, 24, is examining the correlation between juvenile crime and dropout rates. He suggests a “targeted approach to intervention in the sixth grade,” an early-warning system that would single out problem youths before their bad habits become criminal acts. He said the database should distinguish which students have failed a class, have an attendance record below 65 percent, receive federal funds for low-income families, live in foster care and have been arrested at least once. Dennis Robinson, 26, a former Army intelligence officer in Iraq and Afghanistan, is directing his eye on the effectiveness of citizens who patrol neighborhoods. “I’m big on community efforts,” said Robinson. In his current neighborhood, citizen patrols “didn’t seem to have an effect on crime in the neighborhood,” and he is keen to find out why.