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Hogan calls for tough on crime measures

Gov. Larry Hogan

Gov. Larry Hogan laid out a tough on crime program today that includes two bills he will introduce during next month’s special session of the General Assembly and threats to the Baltimore City state’s attorney.

In a news conference, Hogan ticked off a list of recent violent crimes in Baltimore; the murder of a 5-year-old who became the city’s 300th homicide victim this year, the shooting of a 13-year-old near a recreation center in West Baltimore and the fatal stabbing of a 69-year-old woman in her church.

“These aren't just stories and statistics,” he said. “These are lives tragically snuffed out, and families that will never be the same. It's heartbreaking. And it's completely unacceptable.”

He laid out plans to expand neighborhood safety grants to include places of worship and to distribute the money more quickly, and announced a “top to bottom evaluation” of the funding the state provides to City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby’s office.

“All of that state funding will remain pending and under review, until that office provides complete data regarding the number of cases they have chosen not to prosecute, and why the number of cases pled down to lesser charges and the number of violent offenders who are given plea deals,” he said.

He also called on the city police department to step up anti-crime efforts.

In addition, he said he would introduce emergency legislation in the special session on redistricting to toughen penalties for those who use firearms in crimes and to make it easier to track sentences for violent crimes handed down by judges.

“The reality is no matter what actions we take, Baltimore City will never get control of the violence if they don't arrest more, prosecute more, and sentence more to get the most violent criminals off the streets,” Hogan said. 

In a statement issued later, State Senate President Bill Ferguson dismissed the governor’s action as “performative politics.”

He called public safety “a statewide issue” and said the governor could act immediately to increase coordination between state and local agencies and to strengthen the Division of Parole and Probation to recognize the connection between victims of violence and perpetrators and create strategies “that recognize poverty shapes outcomes.”

Joel McCord is a trumpet player who learned early in life that that’s no way to make a living.
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