Dismantling the organizations that control Baltimore’s drug trade is the linchpin of a long-awaited crime-fighting plan unveiled yesterday by Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin P. Clark, says the Baltimore Sun. The plan stresses the importance of squeezing information from arrested dealers so the intelligence can be used to infiltrate illicit organizations.
Clark said his proposal marks a shift in perceptions about the drug trade in Baltimore. He does not accept the belief that the city’s drug trade is run by “loosely knit” groups. “Many crime-fighting strategies have been attempted in Baltimore,” says the plan, “but none have focused on systematically dismantling drug organizations from bottom to top – from the street-level dealers to the millionaire drug bosses who direct the death and destruction in the city.”
Jeffrey Ian Ross, a criminologist at the University of Baltimore, said not all city drug trafficking is conducted by organized groups. “It’s a little bit of both,” he said. “You have organizations, and you have loosely based networks.”
Clark, whose formerly headed the New York Police Department’s drug division, is issuing his plan 15 months after taking office, and two days after being questioned by a city councilman about the lack of such a document. “Effectively Reducing Crime in Baltimore,” is designed to guide the 3,200-officer force. Nearly all of the plan has been implemented, he said.