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Hogan: 'not sure' about Baltimore mayor's crime plan, will issue his own solutions

Erin Cox
Contact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun

Gov. Larry Hogan expressed concern this week about Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh's crime-fighting strategy, saying he's not sure what her plan is to reduce the record homicide rate.

While Hogan told reporters Tuesday that he had "a lot of confidence" in Police Commissioner Kevin Davis, he demurred when asked about his confidence in Pugh's crime plans.

"That’s a real tough question, because I’m not sure what the mayor’s plan is to fight violent crime in Baltimore City," Hogan said at an Annapolis news conference. "I don't know that there is a plan."

Asked whether that concerned him, Hogan said, “It does.”

The governor also said he has developed ideas — some that involve state legislation — that he will release as soon as next week.

Hogan, a Republican, and Pugh, a Democrat, have met several times since the summer to discuss violence in Maryland's largest city, conversations the governor described as "substantive."

Through a spokesman, Pugh responded to the governor's comments Tuesday by releasing a statement saying she and Hogan had a "great working relationship" and noting the governor has promised money for laptops and updated police cruisers. The statement did not directly address Hogan’s remarks.

"We are certain that if the governor has additional questions or concerns he will address them directly with Mayor Pugh," the statement read.

Pugh, under pressure from city leaders and activists, released in August a written crime plan that updated her campaign promises, highlighted several initiatives underway and pitched a holistic approach to crime that includes free tuition at Baltimore City Community College.

Some of her critics said at the time that the plan did not go far enough.

“There is still a need for us to have a more in-depth plan with accountability and goals and measurable targets,” City Councilman Brandon Scott, a Democrat who chairs the council’s public safety committee, said in August.

Hogan, who is running for re-election in 2018, told reporters he would continue to look for ways to reduce violence in Baltimore, which has recorded 317 killings this year — the highest per-capita homicide rate on record.

"We’re going to continue to work," he said. "The state cannot just come in and take over Baltimore City. We’re not going to send in the National Guard as we did for a week during the riots. It was a temporary situation. But whatever the state can do to assist them, and things that we think will make it easier to get these repeat violent offenders and criminals who are shooting people in the streets of Baltimore off the streets, we’re going to do it."

Baltimore Sun reporters Ian Duncan and Meredith Cohn contributed to this article.

ecox@baltsun.com

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