Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake released a statement this afternoon, saying her police department would not return to the days of "mass arrests" under Gov. Martin O'Malley's tenure as mayor.
"Returning to the days of mass arrests for any and every minor offense might be a good talking point but it has been proven to be a far less effective strategy for actually reducing crime," Rawlings-Blake said in a statement.
Recently, the governor has argued for increased arrests in Baltimore as a way to combat violent crime. O'Malley, who advocated zero-tolerance policing policies while mayor, says he is concerned that Baltimore has stalled in its crime-fighting efforts, emphasizing that arrests are only half of what they were during his time as mayor.
But Rawlings-Blake notes that homicides dropped under 200 in 2011, using a strategy of targeted arrests focusing on the most violent offenders.
About 50,000 people were arrested last year in Baltimore, compared with 100,000 in 2005 under O'Malley.
So far this year, only about 500 people have been arrested without charges, compared with more than 20,000 in 2005.
FULL STATEMENT OF MAYOR STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE:
“While I appreciate Governor O’Malley’s concern about crime in Baltimore it’s simply inaccurate to suggest more arrests leads to less crime. The fact of the matter is when Baltimore had more arrests under previous administrations the homicide rate and crime overall was much higher. Mass arrests only led to more distrust in local communities which actually make it harder for police to do their job. My Administration is focused on more targeted arrests of the most violent and repeat offenders while modernizing our police force. Returning to the days of mass arrests for any and every minor offense might be a good talking point but it has been proven to be a far less effective strategy for actually reducing crime. There is still more work to do, but we get there by working with communities not by making them feel under siege from mass arrests.”
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