Here's what Baltimore wants to know about how Pugh and De Sousa will reduce crime

Mayor Catherine Pugh and Police Commissioner Darryl DeSousa during "Baltimore Standing Together, a town hall on crime sponsored by WJZ, The Baltimore Sun and the University of Baltimore.
Mayor Catherine Pugh and Police Commissioner Darryl DeSousa during "Baltimore Standing Together, a town hall on crime sponsored by WJZ, The Baltimore Sun and the University of Baltimore. (Amy Davis / Baltimore Sun)

In preparation for Wednesday’s town hall meeting on crime sponsored by The Sun, WJZ and the University of Baltimore, we solicited questions from the public for the event’s featured guests, Mayor Catherine Pugh and Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa. Here’s what Baltimoreans want to know:

  • In the wake of the federal corruption case, what do you and your command staff plan to do to hold officers accountable for misconduct and wrongdoing? What do you and your command staff plan to do to assist officers who "blow the whistle" on officers who abuse their authority? — Niesha McCoy
  • What about restarting neighborhood walking beats so that officers and citizens really get to know each other and begin to develop trust again? That is, having the same officer(s) walking the same neighborhoods, not just riding around in vehicles all day. — Michele Therien
  • It is often said that Baltimore is a city of neighborhoods. However, it is evident that all neighborhoods are not created equal or considered equaly. It’s obvious that the investments that have been made in the Johns Hopkins sector of east Baltimore have had a positive impact on crime. Is there a comprehensive plan to make similar investments in other parts of the city? What are some specific examples of what’s in the pipeline? — Jesse Kane
  • How can a municipality expect to reduce crime when they can't provide AC and heat for children in schools? Don't they lose credibility in a hopeful future from the youth at that point? — Cody Smith
  • We are a young business, two years old in Station North on Charles Street, and we have never seen any foot police in our neighborhood. Parking tickets, no problem. Feeling safe? Nowhere to be found. Not even car patrols. We deal with drug strung-out homeless all on our own. Any chance of some support? Many MICA students and UB students walk around this neighborhood, but we only see college security during the fall parent's visitation weekend and graduation week in the spring. Any plans to give this area more security? — Kimberly Ann Cornfield
  • What preventative measures are being implemented to decrease violent crimes (especially among youth)? How is the City working with Annapolis to enforce more effective gun controls? — Will Smith
  • Part of the strategy for crime reduction must include access to economic opportunities. Currently, this is restricted for many city residents due to a limited and antiquated public transportation system. The Hogan administration has seemingly been part of the problem with directing funds away from meaningful and innovative expansion of Baltimore’s public transportation system. In what ways will the city work with the state to enhance and improve transportation, particularly in our most economically vulnerable areas? — Jesse Kane
  • Why does the police department need eye witnesses for identifying a person of interest when there are street cameras for speeding? Why can't these cameras be used for those purposes? — Pwork Llong
  • As you consider options for improving the Baltimore community, examining and benchmarking against other cities, is there one that stands out, an aspirational city that has traits we would like to enhance in Baltimore? What are the traits you are seeing and learning about? — John Cox
  • The Baltimore Police Department’s overtime budget reached nearly $50 million, almost $30 million above budget. For perspective, eight of the 10 highest paid city employees were police officers; 22 of the 25 highest paid city employees were police officers; 122 of the 150 highest paid city employees were police officers, and so on. Last year, we were up on crime in almost every category. How do you explain this obvious mismanagement of city resources to residents/taxpayers, when we don’t see the impact that overtime has had on crime reduction? — Jesse Kane
  • At times the communities’ expectations of police exceed law enforcement’s legal authority or the department’s human resources. How to we appropriately set the public’s expectations of how the police can address community related complaints? As a retired major from the Baltimore Police Department who now works in community services, I have realized the police and the community literally at times do not speak the same language. How do we enable the police to understand what the community is asking them, and how do we educate the public so that they clearly understand the police response to their queries? — Mike Hilliard
  • How do you educate college students on community issues and empower these students to implement changes? — Lechi Nwanegwo
  • Community policing is oftentimes cited as a strategy to help reduce crime. It has been effectively used by other departments and cities around the country. Do you think community policing can truly work in Baltimore when so many officers don’t and are not required to live in the city where they serve? — Jesse Kane
  • What can we as a society do to give the residents of Baltimore City hope? — Amy Seffield Pippenger