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Focusing & Fighting Back: Mayor Plans To Crack Down On Crime Hot Spots

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Cracking down on crime hot spots. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced her plans to cut down violence throughout the city–as 2014 sees an 80 percent increase in homicides over last year.

Meghan McCorkell has reaction to the new policing plan.

Many say they’re happy to hear of changes in the works but what they really want to see is results.

Thirty homicides in just the first six weeks of 2014. Now city leaders are fighting back.

“We’re going to focus on the problem locations, the problem people, and take them out,” said Police Commissioner Anthony Batts.

That means turning up the heat in neighborhoods plagued by violent crime. Police previously used specialized units to target four city “hot spot” zones. Now they’ll utilize patrol officers to hone in on violent repeat offenders in 17 zones across the city.

“People are really nervous about what could potentially happen to them,” said Mike Beczkowski.

He is a community leader in the Southeast District, which has seen a recent string of violence, including the stabbing death of a woman inside her Patterson Park home, the violent carjacking of a Canton man and the armed robbery of a 12-year-old girl walking to school. He’s happy to see a policing change.

“It seems that they’re taking a more proactive approach to preventing crimes before they happen,” he said.

The department will also expand its watch center so commanders are keeping an eye on crime cameras around the city around the clock.

Commanders could move resources to respond more quickly to target criminals.

“There’s a small amount of these violent repeat offenders that are wreaking all the havoc in our communities,” said Councilman Nick Mosby.

Now a plan is in place to stop offenders before they strike again. Police officials say resources will be equally distributed across the 17 crime hot spot zones.

The mayor is also proposing year-round curfew centers for juveniles found out past curfew.

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