Baltimore has announced it will stop prosecuting people for drug possession, prostitution, minor traffic offenses, and other minor offenses in a controversial move to expand an experiment conducted to combat the spread of Covid.
State attorney Marilyn Mosby stopped filing charges for a range of minor crimes last March to reduce the number of people sent to overcrowded prisons during the pandemic.
Since then, violent crime and murders in Baltimore have fallen 20 percent, while increasing in most other major American cities – prompting Mosby to announce Friday that she was making the temporary policy permanent.
State attorney Marilyn Mosby stopped filing charges for a range of less serious crimes last March. She is seen at a press conference on Friday to announce that she is renewing the policy
Baltimore saw 13 fewer homicides from the year to March so far, while property crime fell 36%.
This coincided with 39% fewer people entering the city’s criminal justice system, 20% fewer people entering prison, 80% fewer arrests for drug possession and 1,400 pending cases for non-violent crimes.
Mosby said on Friday that this showed that a quality of life crackdown was not necessary to curb more serious violations – a challenge to the popular “ Broken Windows ” theory promoted by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
She declared an end to the “war on drugs” in a city notorious for decades for runaway violent crimes and harsh police.
Nationally, the murder rate was up 30%, with 278 more homicides in Chicago in 2020, representing a 55% increase, while the 131 additional homicides in New York City accounted for a 43% increase.
“A year ago, we underwent an experiment in Baltimore,” Mosby said in comments from the Boston Globe
“What we learned that year, and it is so incredibly exciting, is that there is no public safety value in prosecuting these petty crimes.
These petty crimes were and were discriminately enforced against black and brown people. Prosecutors must recognize their power to change the criminal justice system. The era of “hard on crime” prosecutors is over. ‘
Baltimore – which still has one of the highest murder rates in the US – will now partner with local health services to treat drug users, sex workers, and those with mental health problems, rather than treating them like criminals.
Low-level crime enforcement has declined in much of the country as police curtailed operations to avoid catching Covid and homicides have increased in most cities – so it is unclear if Mosby’s experiment would work elsewhere.
Mosby said minor infractions were “discriminated against black and brown people.” Pictured is a file photo of a man being arrested in Baltimore
The district attorney’s decision was criticized by Senator Robert Cassilly, a Hartford County Republican, who accused her of overstepping her authority.
“Prosecutors take an oath to uphold the Constitution in the state of Maryland and the Constitution says the General Assembly sets policies, not prosecutors,” Cassilly said. Fox Baltimore
“I respect the prosecution’s entire discretion. That is not a prosecution discretion, it is an exercise in legislation. That is what the legislator has to do. ‘
Asked if she was concerned about claims that lawlessness was officially tolerated, Mosby said, “I’m following the data. So what we have been able to prove over the past year is that crime has declined. ‘
Baltimore Police Mayor Brandon Scott and Michael Harrison both support the policy, but the local officers’ union has not yet ruled.
Mosby is facing a federal investigation into the finances of her campaign and the finances of her city councilor husband. She claims the investigation is ‘politically motivated’.
Despite Baltimore’s experience, murder rates exploded in nearly three dozen US cities in 2020, 30 percent more than the previous year, resulting in 1,200 more deaths from murder last year compared to 2019. This graph is taken from a report that was published last month.
The homicide rate in nearly three dozen U.S. cities exploded in 2020, 30 percent higher than the previous year, resulting in 1,200 more deaths from murder last year compared to 2019.
The shocking findings came in a new investigation into possible links between crime, the coronavirus pandemic and protests against police brutality.
The murder rates were higher every month in 2020 than in the previous year. That said, rates rose significantly in June well after the pandemic began, coinciding with the death of George Floyd and the massive protests that followed, ” said a report by the National Commission of COVID-19 and Criminal Justice. (NCCCJ) entitled Pandemic. , Social unrest and crime in American cities.
The group, founded in July 2020 by the impartial Criminal Justice Council to assess the impact of COVID-19 on the justice system and make recommendations, characterized the spike in murder rates as a ‘historic’ and ‘disturbing rise that does not meet modern precedent. . ‘
The 26-page study examined crime rates for 10 different crimes, including murder, aggravated assault and theft, in 34 American cities ranging in size from Norfolk, Virginia – the smallest city in the sample with 245,000 residents – to New York City – the largest city with 8.42 million inhabitants.
In Chicago, there were 278 more homicides in 2020, an increase of 55 percent year-on-year, while the 131 additional homicides in New York City accounted for a 43 percent increase.
Violent assault and firearms increased by 6 percent and 8 percent, respectively, compared to the previous year, but robberies fell by 9 percent amid the pandemic that left large sections of the population tied to their homes for months.
The domestic violence rate based on data from 12 of the 34 cities in the sample increased during the first months of the pandemic, but leveled off by the end of the year and was similar to 2019 rates.
Likewise, the rates of property and drug crime, excluding motor vehicle theft, have fallen significantly in 2020. Home burglaries were down 24 percent, non-residential burglaries by 7 percent, theft by 16 percent and drug offenses by 30 percent. cents.
The homicide rate was 30 percent higher than in 2019, representing 1,268 more deaths in the sample of cities than the year before. Of the 34 cities in the study, 29 had a peak in homicides.
Chicago added 278 homicides to the 2019 total of 502, up 55 percent, while New York added 131 homicides, representing an increase of 43 percent.