Former Baltimore Police Department spokesman and mayoral candidate T.J. Smith released today his crime plan, calling for targeted policing where the murders happen, putting more police officers on the street, and disrupting the flow of guns into the city, among other initiatives. Smith, who most recently worked as a spokesperson for Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr., served as chief spokesman of the BPD from 2015 to 2018.
“We can change the culture of gun violence in our city, but we must also change the approach of City Hall,” he said in a statement. “Real, immediate results can be seen with a mayor who has the policing experience, vision, and trust of the community.”
His plan asserts that 50 percent of murders that happened last year occurred in East, West and Southwest Baltimore; one-third of the killings were committed within five square miles. That data serves as the impetus for his idea to focus policing in specific areas.
Smith pledges to increase the number of police officers on the street by replacing those officers in administrative positions with civilians. He would disrupt the flow of guns into Baltimore by working more closely with federal partners to stem the tide of firearms trafficked into Baltimore, and lobbying the General Assembly for stricter laws.
“A part of this gun violence plague that sometimes stays under the radar is the audacity of the shooters on our streets. The brazen nature of the crimes comes from two distinct sources: an endless supply of illegal weapons and an expectation of lax punishment. The reality is, we treat drug offenders far more harshly than gun offenders, and in a Smith Administration, that will end,” the plan reads.
Violent crime in the city touched Smith in a personal way with the 2017 murder of his younger brother Dionay in his apartment in Upton, a neighborhood in the western part of Baltimore.
Smith’s plan also calls for an expansion of tip incentives and the strengthening of witness protection programs, along with other ideas. Read the plan in its entirety, here.
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