For the last three years, Maryland, and Baltimore in particular, have been suffering from an epidemic of violent crime. And during that time, Governor Hogan has done nothing but pay lip service to the problem while straining relationships with the state’s critical partners – the local jurisdictions. As Governor, I will move the state from inaction to action and will attack crime and violence on multiple fronts. I will target violent crime and illegal gun possession while working to reform policing and restore community trust in law enforcement. I will do so as part of my larger plan to reinvest in Maryland.
Since 2015, coincident with Governor Hogan’s tenure, violent crime in Maryland has skyrocketed. Baltimore has suffered from a record number of murders in each of the past three years. Instead of acting constructively to stop the carnage, Governor Hogan has removed crime fighting assets and canceled projects like the Red Line that would have brought relief to poverty and unemployment – the root causes of the violence. His recent reinstitution of efforts of his predecessors, which he retracted in the first place, is no substitute for action and commitment.
As Governor, I will bring a results-oriented perspective to our public safety strategy. First, we must stop the violence. I will work with the Maryland Attorney General to harness the newly passed Maryland RICO statute to dismantle violent criminal organizations across the state whether they be in Baltimore, the Washington D.C. suburbs, or Eastern and Western Maryland. I will mobilize state agencies to work with local and federal agencies in a joint effort to target the criminal organizations that are the engines of violence in our state and to remove from the streets the guns that kill and maim thousands of our citizens every year. I will make it a felony to possess a gun illegally. I will ensure that Maryland law enforcement has the latest technology at their disposal to fight crime effectively, the right way, with the support of their communities.
We must also restore community trust in law enforcement. Police play a critical role in a democratic society and their effective service and partnership with the citizens they serve is essential for our safety, security, and prosperity. For too long, our political leaders have employed strategies that have alienated the police from large segments of our citizens rather than targeting the small segment of the population responsible for the majority of violent crime. Mass incarceration has drained our communities. I will support the city of Baltimore and the U.S. Department of Justice in implementing the consent decree. Moreover, I will work to ensure we are deploying the best practices for policing and holding police accountable for misconduct in Baltimore and across the state.
I will reinvest in parole and probation and re-entry programs that have languished with insufficient funding and planning in the Hogan administration. Fully one third of those convicted of violent crimes in Baltimore City have been under state supervision on parole or probation. The state government must work cohesively with local police to target the criminals who are wreaking havoc on the streets. The parole and probation systems are major tools that law enforcement can use to target these individuals. I will also direct the state law enforcement agencies, including the Maryland State Police and the Maryland Transportation Authority Police, to work cooperatively with the local jurisdictions to find ways to maximize each agency’s effectiveness and efficiency.
Finally, I will address the root causes of crime and violence in our state. My plans to invest in education and transportation will spur economic development and address the root causes of crime to expand opportunity and end the school to prison pipeline. I will make sure the state government does its part to intervene with troubled youths through the Department of Juvenile Services. I will make sure to properly fund programs like ROCA and Safe Streets, which interact with troubled youths and ex-offenders, and collaborate with experts to bring similar programs that have been successful elsewhere in the country to Maryland. And I will attack drug addiction as a heath issue and deflate the demand for drugs that drives violent organized crime.
Maryland has a public safety crisis. As governor, I will stop the violence in the short term and invest in education and transportation systems that will drive economic development that, in the long term, address the root causes of crime and violence that have too long plagued our state.