BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Last week the Baltimore police commissioner was fired up at a press conference, Wednesday, the mayor responded to those who are lashing out at her. They say she doesn’t take the violence seriously.
Mayor Catherine Pugh says every time there’s a shooting or murder, her phone rings, and it couldn’t be more disturbing.
Pugh says they’re moving the hiring process along as fast as they can with officers but the City might not feel the impact until next year.
The department said once officers make it through the academy, they are immediately deployed to foot patrol in various communities, including the Inner Harbor.
“Anyone who thinks that I don’t take this seriously or it’s not something alarming to me, this is the most important thing we can do in this city and that’s to reduce the violence,” Pugh said.
Pugh fired back at critics Wednesday who question her leadership as Baltimore is closing in on one of it’s deadliest times ever, hitting 300 plus murders for the third year in a row.
“I am deeply disturbed about the violence and this is the number one priority of the City,” she said.
Vicious, random attacks like Sebastain Dvorak, who was killed in Canton after a night out with friends, to Kia Martin’s daughter, who was beat down at the Inner Harbor.
“They just don’t understand the pain, terror and hurt that they cause,” said Martin.
“I’m actually thinking about moving out of the state,” one woman said. “That’s how bad it’s got.”
Many are calling for a more obvious presence of police in their communities.
“Unless you have more actively involved law enforcement, then I don’t know how this is going to end,” Baltimore resident Steve Bono. “We just can’t keep finger pointing, everyone has to take some responsibility.”
Mayor Pugh acknowledges the City is battling a shortage of officers, but that close to 200 individuals have already made it through the hiring process.
“When I first started, I said to the police department, fill every single vacancy that you have. We won’t really feel the impact of that until next year,” she said.
Pugh has ordered everyday meetings on crime involving most of the City’s agencies.
Along with an influx of lights throughout Baltimore that have recently been added, and a focal point of expanding the Safe Streets Program to all communities, many are left wondering what it will take for Baltimore to come out on top.
“This is worse than Detroit in one way and even worse than Chicago,” a South Baltimore resident said. “I know a lot of people that are scared to even come out the building. I would hate to see this city go down.”
“We will continue this fight and we will continue until we win it,” Pugh said.