Sun Investigates

Audit finds problems with how Maryland awards crime prevention grants

An audit faulted the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention for not having consistent standards for awarding crime prevention grants and auditing grant recipients.

An audit faulted the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention for not having clear guidelines for awarding crime grants and not always following up to ensure the money was spent properly.

The Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention annually awards tens of millions of dollars in grants to local law enforcement agencies but does not have “a comprehensive methodology” for selecting grant winners, according to the state audit released Tuesday.


The state Office of Legislative Audits wrote that while the crime control and prevention office has a policy of striving for “a competitive and transparent” grant application process, not all grants were competitively awarded.

In the Maryland Victims of Crime grant program, for example, dozens of organizations applied for grants, including four organizations that sought $100,000 each and all scored 92 out of 100. But the organizations received different amounts — from $40,000 to $70,000 — without explanation.


The audit also faulted the office for not having a comprehensive process for reviewing and verifying how those awarded grants spend the money and whether they are meeting performance requirements.

The Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention conducts triennial audits of grantees and reviews quarterly reports. But the quarterly reports did not require documentation of how the money was spent or the performance results, auditors noted.

During a nearly four-year period from January 2015 through November 2018, 57 percent of grantees had not been audited, the audit found.

As a result, auditors found that “there is no assurance” that the grant recipients were achieving the objectives of the grant programs.

Officials from Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration responded to the audit by saying they are making improvements in their processes for awarding and reviewing grants, including documenting applications using a more comprehensive spreadsheet and planning to prioritize audits going forward.

In a statement, the crime control office said: “We have already taken steps to improve processes and address the items raised in the report.”