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GBC head: Baltimore's businesses support anti-crime efforts

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh meets at 8 every morning with more 30 department heads to talk about fighting crime in the city.  (Kevin Richardson / Baltimore Sun video)

Mayor Catherine Pugh’s public pronouncement last week that crime in Baltimore City is “out of control” resonates with many including the Baltimore business community. The Greater Baltimore Committee has expressed concerns about the level of homicides since 1999 when its report “First Things First” challenged city elected leaders to reduce homicides by 50 percent.

The mayor’s efforts to bring city agencies together to share information and take actions to address the needs of the neighborhoods is a step, but much more is needed (“Baltimore Mayor Pugh says crime ‘out of control,’ orders agencies to meet with police every morning,” Nov. 9). There is no easy solution or magic elixir to reduce homicides and violent crime. If there was, it would have been adopted and implemented. Any strategy taken will require a coordinated and collaborative effort by the Mayor’s Office, City Council, Baltimore Police Department, State’s Attorney’s Office and state government partners such as the departments of Parole and Probation and Juvenile Services. The strategy must be laser-focused to reduce crime now.

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The most basic responsibility of government is the protection of its citizens. Crime not only wreaks havoc and tragedy on the citizens, particularly the victims and their families, but also negatively affects economic growth, job creation and the overall potential of the city.

The business community fully supports the efforts of the mayor and Baltimore Police Department to reduce violent crime and homicides but stresses that all actions must be undertaken by the vested parties with a sense of urgency. The Greater Baltimore Committee stands ready to partner with Mayor Pugh to stop the crime.

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There is no bigger issue than the safety of residents, the workforce and visitors to Baltimore. Complacency or acceptance of the current rate of violent crime is unacceptable. Enough is enough!

There is one issue that truly unites all corners of this city: a safer Baltimore. The business community, the non-profit community, the faith-based community, and the hundreds of thousands of residents across every neighborhood can all stand together with government in achieving this goal.

Donald C. Fry, Baltimore, Baltimore

The writer is president and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee.

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