Editor’s note: The following Letter to the Editor appeared on www.bizjournals.com on March 15, 2018.
It was concerning to read the Baltimore Business Journal’s story on the Greater Baltimore Committee’s March 8 Newsmaker Breakfast event featuring Drew Vetter, director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice.
The article regrettably focused on comments by one attendee who stated that her organization has employees who are deeply concerned about crime in the city and want to see a stronger deployment of police on the downtown area. These are legitimate concerns for a member of the business community and should be addressed to appropriate city officials. Those concerns should be explored by police and actions taken to ensure employee safety throughout the city.
However, the article came up short providing readers with a complete picture of Mr. Vetter’s impressive presentation, which included details of the comprehensive crime reduction strategy pursued by Mayor Catherine Pugh and law enforcement officials to reduce violent crime in Baltimore.
As outlined by Mr. Vetter these steps include: a Violence Reduction Initiative aimed at enhancing communities and preventing crime; expanding the successful Safe Streets program to prevent violent crime in neighborhoods; launching a Roca program in Baltimore to prevent high-risk youths from being lured into crime and gangs; focusing police attention on individuals known to be at-risk for criminal activity, specifically repeat violent offenders; enhanced technology; and expediting the police officer hiring process.
The article also did not report the past four months crime statistics compared to the same period in 2017:
- Homicides are down 20 percent year-to-date
- Shootings are down 48 percent
- Robberies are down more than 24 percent
Overall, Mr. Vetter’s presentation shows that Mayor Pugh and the Baltimore Police Department are making progress and the trend lines are positive toward improving public safety for businesses, employees and citizens.
Had the homicide and violent crime statistics increased over the previous year, there is little doubt such news would have generated headlines. One can only ask that a reduction of homicides and violent crime like that experienced in recent months be treated with the same degree of media attention.
Donald C. Fry President & CEO Greater Baltimore Committee