Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley is concerned that Baltimore has stalled in its efforts to reduce crime, emphasizing that arrest rates have continued to fall as declines in violence have leveled off, reports the Baltimore Sun. O’Malley pointed out that “half as many offenders were being arrested now, compared to ten years ago, and the city is now seeing drive-by shootings in broad daylight.”
The subject of arrest rates has been a delicate one in Baltimore for O’Malley, who as Baltimore mayor advocated zero-tolerance policing in high-crime areas that led to many arrests in which cases were eventually dropped. Though the increased enforcement coincided with sharp drops in the city’s overall violent crime statistics, it led to a civil rights challenge from the NAACP and the American Civil Liberties Union. After an initial drop, murders began to rise again. Arrests have fallen by more than half since O’Malley’s time as the city shifted toward prioritizing the arrest of violent offenders over those who commit less-serious violations. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake does not believe more arrests necessarily translate into lower crime.