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Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake Announces ‘State Of The City’

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Derek Valcourt 370x278 Derek Valcourt
Derek Valcourt began working at WJZ in September 2002. His first major...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The mayor takes aim at Baltimore’s violent crime in her annual State of the City address.

Derek Valcourt has more on the mayor’s message and what she says should be done about violent crime.

Crime is on the top of the minds of many in the city, and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake used much of her speech to talk about what she’s trying to do about it.

In the 15th annual State of the City address, Rawlings-Blake outlined changes she says will help the city in its fight against the violent crime that has already claimed at least 29 lives so far this year. The mayor says the city will implement a nationally renowned program called “Operation Ceasefire,” targeting violent repeat offenders.

“There will be severe and swift consequences for any future acts of violence and if you are genuinely sincere about wanting to change your life, we’re here,” she said.

Poliec have already identified a total of 17 zones experiencing increased violence that they will flood with additional police resources when needed. Proactive changes are being made to the CitiWatch Center and more money will be spent on rewards to citizens who call in crime tips. The mayor says more will also be done to address youth violence.

“We know that when our young people are out on the street at night, they are more likely to become the victims of violent crimes or the perpetrators,” she said.

Rawlings-Blake is proposing the creation of connection centers open year-round for teens who violate the city’s curfew, rather than the summer-only approach they have now.

The police commissioner says changes from the city’s recently implemented strategic crime plan are already working.

“We’re seeing the results. It’s moving in the right direction. We will continue to bear down on this organization,” said Police Commissioner Anthony Batts.

The mayor also touted some of the city’s successes, including cutting the budget deficit by $400 million. The mayor also talked about the speed and red light camera program that has been plagued by errors.

The mayor also said the popular mechanical street sweeping program will be expanding this spring to include every neighborhood in the city.

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