ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ/AP) — Baltimore’s rising violence has reached such a high level of concern that a Maryland Senate panel brought together local officials and experts to focus on how to reduce to bloodshed.
State Sen. Nathaniel McFadden told lawmakers Tuesday that when “all hell breaks loose” as it has Maryland’s largest city, “the whole state has a problem.” The Baltimore Democrat called on his colleagues to work together, because the problems Baltimore is facing are coming to other parts of the state.
“This is the plan that we campaigned on,” said Baltimore City Mayor Catherine Pugh.
Pugh says putting that plan in action is going to require more resources.
“We’re not sitting in City Hall in the dark and when I said in January I need everybody, all hands on deck to reduce violence in the City, I did what I call a call to action,” Pugh said.
“What we are seeing right now is an increase in juveniles being from 14 all the way up until 18 – 14-, 15-year-old’s just this past week where we’ve had to charge 14- and 15-year-old’s with gun possession. They’re bringing loaded firearms into the schools,” said city state’s attorney Marilyn Mosby.
Members of the General Assembly are getting on board. Senate Judicial Chairman Bobby Zirkin is leading the cause.
“There’s a tremendous loss of life going on, the violence is in a proportion i haven’t seen since I’ve been down here. It has an economic impact and it has an impact on all of us,” Zirkin said. “Whether you live in the city or across the city line, which is where I live, or anywhere across the State, what is happening in Baltimore City means something to the State.”
That means funding and legislation will be a priority.
Another hearing is scheduled for later in Baltimore.
Homicides and overdoses are threatening new records in the city. There have been 245 homicides so far this year, compared to 214 at this time last year.
Gov. Larry Hogan last month announced plans for legislation to tighten sentencing for violent criminals to help quell the crime surge.
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