Crime & Public Safety
Baltimore is in the midst of a violence and crime crisis. Having grown up in Cherry Hill as one of five boys, I experienced firsthand the detrimental effects of poverty, addiction and violence. My family faced the challenges too many young people and families in Baltimore are still facing today — a parent in recovery, jobs that did not pay enough for us to secure safe housing, a need for welfare and food stamps just to barely get by, heat and water cut off because my parents couldn’t pay the bills even though they worked hard. These are my roots and they’re what drives me to make Baltimore a better, fairer, safer place for all.
Violent crime is tearing communities apart, driving families and business out of the city, and cutting the lives of our loved ones short. Last year alone, we saw the highest per capita homicide rate in our city’s history. This cannot continue.
Being raised in Cherry Hill, I saw first-hand the root causes of various levels of crime and violence in our city and how they destroy lives, families, neighborhoods, and communities. Our crime fighting strategies need to consider this dynamic and allot the appropriate resources in a targeted manner. My public safety platform will take these current realities into account as we identify the most effective ways to combat crime and identify additional resources to be brought to communities.
Our current elected officials are not being held accountable or acting with the urgency we need to address the crime crisis plaguing our city. It’s time for us to act rather than continue to sit on the sidelines.
As mayor, I will make it my top priority to end the violence in Baltimore. While sustainable reduction in violence will take a systemic approach, we must act immediately with tactical and strategic initiatives to reduce the crisis of violence today.
Baltimore’s Crime Crisis
CHALLENGE: Baltimore faces highest homicide rate in the city’s history and a pervasive sense of hopelessness on our ability to impact crime levels
VISION: Reduce homicides by 25 percent in first term
OUR APPROACH: Build a coalition of experts
Building safer communities starts with rooting out gun violence. My most immediate action will be to pull together a coalition of leading crime fighting and public health experts across the region and work with them to build a plan to end this cycle of violence.
Ending the crime crisis can’t wait. Lives are lost every day. That’s why I will begin building a solution even before I’m sworn in. Immediately after I win the election, I will work with my coalition of thought leaders and changemakers and develop a tactical plan to address the immediate crisis of crime facing our city. The plan will focus on real solutions and tactics that can be implemented immediately. To ensure I and my team are held accountable, the plan will include the ongoing measurement of results, which I will share with all the citizens in Baltimore through a real-time, online dashboard.
Our coalition of crime fighters, thought leaders and experts will be open to all possible solutions to address the immediate crime epidemic, as well as longer-term solutions.
The current crime-fighting strategies being used in our city clearly are not working and have not worked for prior administrations for many years. You only need to visit our hardest hit neighborhoods to know that and to see the human toll of this failure. By employing strategic partnerships, we will introduce innovative solutions to combat the city’s immediate crises.
A cohort of cities, including Oakland and Philadelphia, have implemented comprehensive gun violence reduction strategies that have proven effective in reducing violent crime. As soon as I win the election, I will meet with leaders from these and other cities to tap their experience and expertise and learn what proven strategies we can adapt to the challenges we face in our city. We must bring those strategies and resources together to make a difference from day one. I know Baltimore has the funding, resources and brainpower to make this happen.
As a successful businessman and entrepreneur, I have a more than 30-year history of building successful partnerships, coalitions and strategies to get things done. This will be the most important coalition that I have ever built, because it will save lives and move Baltimore in a new, better direction.
CHALLENGE: Lack of trust between police and minority community
VISION: Rebuild trust between the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) and the minority community
OUR APPROACH: More feet on the street and improved BPD policies, training, recruiting and accountability
For realistic and successful change to happen and endure, the Baltimore Police Department must earn the trust of the residents who live in the communities they serve – especially in those communities that are most heavily impacted by poverty, crime, addiction and violence. Conversely, residents of the communities that the BPD serve must appreciate the difficult and dangerous job that police officers are confronted with and recommit to respecting them and allowing them to do their job. Additionally, we must emphasize the accountability of not just the leadership of the BPD but also every individual officer to ensure residents feel they can trust and rely on the police who serve their communities. There exists an inherent mutual dependency between the police officers and citizens. Neither can be successful or safe without the help of the other.
Growing up in Cherry Hill, I witnessed and experienced the debilitating cost of racism, racial profiling and other corrupt actions by those who should have been protecting, leading and building up our communities.
I will work closely with Commissioner Harrison to ensure that BPD has the proper funding for training, more foot patrols in communities that will provide opportunities to build trust with our citizens, and for programs to support and protect people who come forward to report criminal activity. I know that without improved policies, training, and recruiting efforts, residents will continue to feel justly distrustful of BPD. But, by strengthening the relationship between police and communities, we can work together effectively to end the crime epidemic destroying so many lives in Baltimore.
I also understand that trust is a two-way street. The lack of connectedness in the city today has fueled crime and violence. For change the come, there must be connectedness within communities and an effort to bridge connections between communities and BPD. We must establish an environment across our city and in our neighborhoods that fosters mutual trust and communication between the police and our residents. We must create more opportunities for police and residents from all communities to interact in a positive way and build mutual respect and long-term relationships that will allow us to tackle the complex issue of crime in Baltimore.
Crime Systemic Focus – Crime as a Baltimore Public Health Crisis
CHALLENGE: Lack of police living in the communities they serve
VISION: Establish relationships between BPD and the communities they serve
OUR APPROACH: Incentivize BPD officers to live in the city
In the past few years, BPD has lost hundreds of officers, resulting in an inability to fight crime effectively and creating a lack of appropriate coverage that our communities need to be safe.
As a business owner with more than 30 years of experience, I have a successful history of creating hundreds of jobs in Baltimore and beyond and I will bring those skills to bear on this problem. I will work diligently to identify best practices and use tax policy to make our communities safer. I know this change won’t happen all at once but working together we can transform our communities.
As mayor, I will fill BPD’s vacancies and create incentives to encourage officers to live in the communities they serve. When officers have a real stake in the community, they can build meaningful and lasting relationships with those they are sworn to protect across the city. I will incentivize officers by working with the city and state to offer significant tax breaks and home ownership opportunities to those who choose to live in the communities they serve. My goal will be to place at least 25 officers in homes in high-crime communities in the first year of my term.
CHALLENGE: Lack of mental health resources for communities plagued by gun violence
VISION: Create long-lasting solutions to end the cycle of violence
OUR APPROACH: Expand trauma-responsive mental health and drug addiction resources
To create long-lasting solutions to end the cycle of violence in our city, we must address the root causes of this violence. Communities with the highest levels of poverty, crime and addiction face the greatest exposure to trauma caused by gun violence and violent crime. Historically, Black and Latino communities in Baltimore have been disproportionately affected by this trauma, which can lead to the development of mental health issues. This trauma can be especially detrimental to young people. The problem is compounded when access to resources are limited or non-existent, as they currently are in Baltimore.
As mayor, I will expand the availability of trauma-responsive mental health services and drug addiction resources in the communities that need it most. These services are needed now more than ever in all underserved communities and we will address these needs, providing the resources required to keep our citizens safer.
Stay tuned for more details…
CHALLENGE: Squeegee kids unsettle residents and deter visitors
VISION: Create opportunities for these young people
OUR APPROACH: Prohibit squeegeeing, provide better alternatives
The squeegee kids’ phenomenon is a classic example of motivated but misguided entrepreneurship. Many residents and visitors are deterred from visiting our great city’s harbor because of the “Pitbull” sales tactics of some of these individuals. Beginning on the first day of my term, squeegeeing in visible areas will be prohibited, specifically on designated routes in and out of downtown.
At the same time, I recognize that this is a complex issue and will be vigilant about addressing the root causes that lead to young kids working in the streets. I will create a task force that includes downtown business leaders, commercial property owners, educators and non-profit organizations to create and fund a comprehensive plan to get squeegee kids off the streets and either into steady jobs that provide a fair wage or provide a path to get them back into the education system.
When I was growing up, the Police Athletic League and Big Brothers and Big Sisters provided activities and mentoring that helped young people like me, young men and women living in neighborhoods where finding the right path is difficult. Through partnerships with these types of organizations, we will connect young people with ongoing opportunities to build the interpersonal skills and habits of mind that are essential for long-term success and stability.