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5th staffer leaving Baltimore mayor's criminal justice office

A fifth member of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's Office on Criminal Justice is leaving the agency, city officials confirmed.

Amy Hartman, who led city efforts to increase public safety in the southeast neighborhood of McElderry Park, has submitted her resignation — meaning nearly a third of the 16-member office is departing amid the recent surge in violence.

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LeVar Michael, who led the city's anti-violence program Operation Ceasefire, resigned in March over his concerns that the city wasn't implementing the program properly. Last month, Angela Johnese, director of the criminal justice office, and Heather Brantner, the mayor's Sexual Assault Response Team coordinator, left their posts. Officials declined to say under what terms they departed. And Shannon Cosgrove, the office's deputy director, submitted her resignation days later.

Hartman, who made $48,000 a year, declined to comment.

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The Mayor's Office on Criminal Justice, founded in 1969, has a budget of $7.4 million.

May was the deadliest month in Baltimore since the 1970s, with 42 homicides.

Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts has said police are struggling to stop violence in West Baltimore, where officers have been routinely surrounded by dozens of people, video cameras and hostility while performing basic police work since the death of Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old who died after suffering a spinal cord injury while in police custody.

Six officers face criminal charges in Gray's death. Some police officers have said they feel hesitant to do their the jobs because of intense public scrutiny.

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Arrests dropped by more than half in May compared to the same period last year.

Shortly after Gray's funeral, rioting broke out across the city. Twenty-seven pharmacies and two methadone clinics were looted, and the amount of stolen pills has "thrown off the balance on the streets of Baltimore," leading to a spike in shootings related to the drug trade, according to Batts.

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