Hogan unveils funding and initiatives to fight violent crime
BALTIMORE (AP) — Maryland would invest millions of dollars to fight violent crime and would strengthen penalties for repeat gun-violence offenders and witness intimidation, under a package of initiatives announced Wednesday by Gov. Larry Hogan.
Hogan’s proposed state budget would pay for 25 new prosecutors and support staff for the attorney general to prosecute violent crimes. He also announced an additional $21 million for the city of Baltimore and the state’s attorney’s office.
He made the announcement in Baltimore, where there have been more than 300 homicides each year for five years straight.
“The time has come for Baltimore City to finally take back its streets and communities once and for all, because enough is enough,” Hogan said at a news conference.
The Republican governor is proposing a new strategy to reduce youth violence in the city. He also said he plans to push for legislation to publish sentencing records of judges in violent crime cases to hold them more accountable for their sentencing decisions.
In the added funding to help Baltimore, $9.2 million would aim to increase community policing efforts. Another $4.6 million would be used for the department’s records management system, lab information management system and technology to read license plates. Hogan said $2.4 million would be used for a new location of the Baltimore Police Academy and nearly $2 million would be set aside for the state’s attorney’s office to prosecute gun violence.
The governor also announced plans to introduce the Violent Firearm Offenders Act in the upcoming legislative session. The measure would increase penalties for people who repeatedly illegally carry firearms and for convicted gang members who illegally possess guns. There would also be increased penalties for people who illegally transfer guns to people they know intend to use them in a crime and for people who steal firearms, possess stolen firearms or engage in straw purchasing.
Baltimore Mayor Bernard “Jack” Young thanked the governor and state lawmakers for the funding to relocate the police training academy and critical technology requests.
“I am also thrilled to be working more closely with the Department of Juvenile Services for a new strategic partnership to curb youth violence in Baltimore,” Young said in a statement. “This partnership will help us better identify and activate the ecosystem of services and resources available to help our young people.”