Reporting Mike Hellgren
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A new plan of action. The recent spike in city violence sparks local and federal lawmakers to enact a new plan of action.
The mayor, police commissioner and U.S. attorney appoint two special prosecutors to target violent offenders.
Mike Hellgren has more on the new partnership.
These two new experienced prosecutors are veterans of the system. They have not yet been selected; background checks are underway now. They will have the full resources of the federal government.
With so much pain in Baltimore streets, including a 115% percent increase in non-fatal shootings over the last month, law enforcement is beefing up the fight in the courtroom.
Two experienced city prosecutors will move to the U.S. Attorney’s Office to crack down on violent gang leaders and repeat offenders, hitting them with tougher federal sentences and quicker prosecutions to get them off the streets.
“We don’t want to be in the business of prosecuting murderers. We want to be in the business of preventing murders,” said Rod Rosenstein, U.S. Attorney.
The mayor and city state’s attorney, who have been on several recent crime walks together, were quick to say they’re not criticizing state laws.
“We know when people have the threat of federal time. It’s a deterrent,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said.
“The whole point of this is to use the resources of the federal system,” said Gregg Bernstein, City State’s Attorney.
The new prosecutors will target hot spots in both east and west Baltimore.
WJZ has reported on multiple shootings on North Carrollton, Bennett Place and Fulton Avenue in west Baltimore and North Kenwood on the east side.
“No matter what zip code you’re living in, no matter what neighborhood you’re living in, no one should have to live in fear,” the mayor said.
The commissioner recently criticized city juries, saying people believe they can get away with murder in Baltimore. Now, more of the worst criminals will have to deal with federal ones.
“This fight against guns begins with the boots on the ground and ends with the boots in the courtroom,” Commissioner Anthony Batts said, Baltimore City Police.
There have also been high-level talks between city and federal law enforcement about what to do about the recent spike in crime.
These prosecutors will be paid for by city taxpayer dollars to the tune of $250,000 a year.