Baltimore law enforcement officials increasingly are conducting “call-ins” to meet with hard-core criminals, warn them of long federal prison sentences, and try to scare them away from ever picking up guns or drugs again. The Baltimore Sun says the tactic is part of a new approach that police and other agencies have been using in a subtle shift away from the zero-tolerance policing of outgoing Mayor Martin O’Malley, and toward models of community policing that have had success in Boston, Chicago and elsewhere.
Some evolving anti-gang and gun violence strategies are a change in direction for the police department. The ambitious undertaking that will require unprecedented cooperation between all levels of the criminal justice system to target violent offenders, a small number of whom are believed responsible for most serious crime. The idea is that once a person is identified, police, prosecutors, parole and probation officers, and social service workers bring the full weight of their offices to pressure offenders into giving up their criminal lifestyle. “It’s good for your most dangerous felons,” Daniel Webster of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research said. “But Baltimore has a heck of a lot more violent offenders than what the federal system can handle.”