BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Maryland Governor Larry Hogan called for a “comprehensive update” Thursday from Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott on his violent crime plan as deadly shootings continue to outpace previous years’ numbers.

In response, Mayor Scott urged the governor to visit Baltimore so that Hogan could see firsthand his work to prevent violence in the city.

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Baltimore is on pace for more than 350 homicides in 2022, and for the first time, more than 100 people were killed by the start of May, according to City Councilman Eric Costello.

In a letter addressed to Scott, the governor referenced a February meeting with the mayor in which Scott laid out his plan to battle Baltimore’s sustained violent crime problem. Hogan said he received assurances that the mayor’s approach would  lead to a “meaningful reduction in violence.”

The leaders each called their meeting at the State House “very productive.” But as violent crime shows no sign of stopping in the city, Hogan is looking for results.

“Already, less than six months into this calendar year, 128 people have been murdered in the city,” Hogan said. “They include a grandmother working as a DoorDash driver gunned down during a robbery, a mother shot while her children were inside the house, a pregnant woman and her fiance shot in their car, and, just days ago, a young student killed hours after his junior prom.”

Hogan also referenced Baltimore City Council’s recent call for the Baltimore Police Department to deliver a short-term crime plan and deploy more officers into neighborhoods. He also mentioned Baltimore residents’ calls for action on the seemingly endless violence.

“In light of these outcries, it is critical that the state and the public what is– and what is not– being done,” the governor said. “I am requesting a comprehensive update on how the implementation of your violent crime plan, an accounting of how state funds allocated for law enforcement have and will be spent, and on BPD’s progress toward closing warrants for violent offenders.”

Hogan also called for an “accounting of the number of felony warrants BPD currently has open, as well as the number of felony warrants BPD has closed or assigned to federal, state, and county partners since February,” after Police Commissioner Micheal Harrison allegedly told the governor in February there were nearly 6,000 open felony warrants in the city.

In a statement released Thursday night, the mayor said he was confused by Hogan’s letter, saying in part: “if the Governor wanted to ask me about the crime fight, he could have asked me in person on Saturday, but he chose not to and instead played publicity games with public safety.”

Scott invited Hogan to spend time with the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood and Safety Engagement, which was established last November, to learn about Group Violence Reduction Strategy work, and to speak with Safe Streets violence interrupters to see the challenges they face.

The mayor also said Hogan could visit the city’s new Emergency Operations Center or “one of our four Baltimore City Intelligence Centers, which are embedded in communities with high violence rates and provide real-time data and intelligence to our officers on the street.”

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“This way, he can see the work being done instead of pointing fingers from Switzerland without much effort,” Scott said.

Since the February meeting, the mayor also announced the city’s “SMART” crime strategy, in which Baltimore police officers will shift from being “call-takers” to the traditional role of walking patrol and engaging with neighborhood residents. The response to some minor crimes will be outsourced or handled remotely under the plan.

Gov. Hogan had a lukewarm response to the new strategy, which was announced earlier this month.

“I don’t know whether it’s smart or it’s dumb. I just hope that they’ll do something about the violent crime and stop the shootings that are taking place every day,” he told WJZ at the time. “It’s a pretty simple plan: Arrest more, prosecute more and sentence more. Keep them in jail and take the violent repeat offenders off the streets. I don’t know what their plan did today, but I’m not sure it’s going to address that.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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CBS Baltimore Staff