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Baltimore Unveils New Strategy To Fight Crime

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Alex DeMetrick 370x278 Alex DeMetrick
Alex DeMetrick has been a general assignment reporter with WJZ...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)— A strategy to fight crime. Baltimore rolls out that plan Thursday in an effort to get ahead of the violence plaguing many of the city’s communities.

Alex DeMetrick reports it’s a mix of cracking down on old targets while bringing in new help.

When Anthony Batts was sworn in as Baltimore’s police commissioner, it came with a built-in challenge.

“Right now in different parts of our community, they just don’t like us. We don’t have the credibility.  We don’t have the respect,” Batts said.

Police were hearing it from ministers, businesses and community groups who have all became advisers in a study to form long-range plans to fight crime.

The consensus? For police, a change was needed.

“To accept them as public servants as opposed to public enemies,” said Cindy Williams, strategy adviser.

Now Commissioner Batts has handed the mayor a strategy to help do that, and in return, get a better handle on violent crime.

On the Internet, it’s open for all to see: all 192 pages of it.

“These recommendations are presented to the people of Baltimore, so they can hold us strictly accountable,” Batts said.

Top strategy targets are familiar ones: gangs, guns, violent repeat offenders and the conditions crime flourishes in–people either afraid to talk to police because of criminal threats or fear of the police themselves.

So the strategy will push for trust, to gain information, to get ahead of crime.

“The only way we will achieve that is working arm-in-arm with each and everyone in our communities,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

“In effort to really get back to what it is that the police is really designed to do in terms of protecting and serving the community as opposed to being a threat,” Williams said.

Commissioner Batts is vowing a new transparency on a number of activities performed by the police department, including all forms of the use of force.

The strategy is a five-year plan but will be kept flexible to adapt to changes in criminal activity.

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