“Desperate” Baltimore Pol Pushes Partial Martial Law Idea


Large swaths of Baltimore could be declared emergency areas subject to heightened police enforcement – including a lockdown of streets – under a city councilman’s proposal that aims to slow the climbing homicide count, says the Baltimore Sun. The proposal, which got a lukewarm response from Mayor Sheila Dixon’s administration, and which others likened to martial law – would allow police to close liquor stores and bars, limit the number of people on sidewalks and halt traffic in areas declared “public safety act zones.” 2007 homicides have reached 108, up from 98 at the same time last year. “Desperate measures are needed when we’re in desperate situations,” said Council Vice President Robert Curran, the bill’s author. “What I’m trying to do is give the mayor additional tools.”

The bill would permit police to limit the number of people who could gather on sidewalks, in streets, or in other outdoor areas. It would prohibit the sale and possession of weapons, though Curran acknowledged that weapons used by criminals are almost always already obtained illegally. Provisions of the bill are identical to a law in Philadelphia that gained attention when a mayoral candidate and former city councilman proposed relying more aggressively on the code. That candidate, Michael Nutter, won the Democratic nomination for mayor Tuesday. “Things like that, without declaring partial martial law, have been tried previously in Philadelphia and have worked,” said Ralph B. Taylor, a criminal justice professor at Temple University, who said cities should look to strategies that have worked in the past before proposing new ideas. “The partial martial law is very controversial here.”

Link: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/baltimore_city/bal-te.md.ci.emergency17may17,0,620

Comments are closed.