Baltimore police crackdown in violent crime by targeting zones
4:47 PM, Feb 11, 2014
Violent crime is falling here at least one East Baltimore neighborhood, but you wouldn't know it talking to those who live along E. 28th Street.
Resident Thomas Daymon said it's much easier to get killed on the streets today than it was 20 years ago,
"A whole lot [easier]...," Daymon said.
One man died here six months ago and another just three weeks ago, but Baltimore's top cop, police Commissioner Anthony Batts, said that's two too many.
"This is not commonplace," Batts said. "This is unacceptable. There shouldn't be a status where this is OK whether you're here in the CHUM or whether you're in Canton or whether you're in Northeast or whether you're in the Southern; this should not be acceptable."
Batts says a few weeks ago, even as the city was averaging a murder each day, the department launched a new strategy in which they targeted 17 different zones, each averaging about a square mile.
While much of the focus is on the homicide total, there are other numbers, which point to pockets of violent repeat offenders, parolees and those out on probation where officers hope to make the biggest impact.
"These zones are patrolled by every officer, not just the specialized units," Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said. "The data tells us where these violent offenders are, and we are working very hard---conducting search warrants, drug buys, undercover stings to apprehend these individuals with hopes of getting them before they commit another violent crime."
The city has admittedly used as many as 40 different strategies over the last seven years, but for those who would suggest this one is as much about politics, as policing, the mayor also has an answer.
"For those who say it's just another thing. Okay. What are we supposed to do? Just wash our hands and let it be what it is? I'm going to continue to fight, and I'm going to work with everybody who wants to continue to make our city safer," Rawlings-Blake said.
City leaders refuse to map out where these 17 enforcement zones are located.
They say as they find new ways to track down the criminals, the criminals find new ways to elude them and they don't want to telegraph to them where they're cracking down.