Baltimore City Council holds first public safety meeting of 2014
11:38 PM, Jan 7, 2014
There were roughly two hours of questions and answers at the first public safety meeting of 2014 in Baltimore City. It was a chance to find out what went wrong in 2013; a year that saw 235 murders.
"We have a very violent, violent culture here in this city and we've got to end that culture of violence. I say my hometown has been traumatized by all that violence," Northwest Baltimore resident, Kim Trueheart, said.
It was a public meeting about public safety, but Trueheart was the only public citizen in attendance.
She says she's not discouraged by that, she's just glad she can be here.
"A lot of folks look to me to come and represent and then go and share with them what I find out and to ask the questions that they allow me to ask," Trueheart tells ABC2.
There were a lot of questions at the Tuesday evening meeting. Council members and police touched on everything from starting a gun buy back program, to breaking down crime patterns by street.
"The more people know, the more they can actually effect us and help us make Baltimore a safer city so that was the whole intention of the councilmen bringing us over here. We tried to give as much facts and as much information so that we can kind of use our partnerships to help control crime in the city, " John Skinner, Deputy Commissioner of Investigations and Intelligence, said.
District two representative Brandon Scott said it is not about blaming the police department. He says it's clear everyone did something wrong last year.
"Everyone can play a part. It's not just a police department thing or city hall or state's attorney. ...Often in my district, we actually catch criminals because everyday citizens call in and say 'hey, look, there's a guy breaking in this house, there's a guy here with a gun'. That's what we need more of, especially with the men. Every able bodied man should be doing something in their neighborhood to make their neighborhood safer everyday," Scott said.
As city leaders look to learn from 2013, they are also working to address the deadly start to 2014.
"We've gotten a lot of help and assistance from the community and we're really happy that these cases are progressing and in the next couple of days we're going to be making some announcements in terms of arrests," Skinner said.