Friday, March 14, 2008
"Crime Decline" in Charm City
Well, so far, it seems Baltimore is hanging on to its "low crime" start of the year. We had the lowest number of homicides in January in many years. Is the criminal justice system turning around? Or is this some wretched pure randomness? We'll see. The criminals, it appears, are just starting to prepare for their "spring offensive". Though the numbers are down, there are plenty of violent incidents still out there.
We can speculate that Commissioner Bealefeld is following some of the policy prescriptions of David Kennedy, whom I heard speak at Friends School last fall. Fred Bealefeld was there to listen--though he left about halfway through (accompanied by Adam Walinsky of Police Corps fame.)
Kennedy is famous for his implementation of the Boston CeaseFire Project--which dropped their homicides dramatically. (They went crazy last year when their murders crept back up to 60). His key points were: that there are only a small number of extremely active, extremely violent individuals (i.e., more than 35 arrests) who lead violent groups. And unless these individuals are brought under control, violent crime will be difficult to reduce.