Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Ahead of a June 7 hearing to discuss the Baltimore Police Department’s budget, City Council President Brandon Scott and 11th District Councilman Eric Costello have asked Police Commissioner Michael Harrison to come prepared with a crime plan.

Citing an increase in homicides and non-fatal shootings, Scott, chair of the Public Safety Committee, and Costello, chair of the Budget and Appropriations Committee, said police need to come up with a crime-reduction strategy that dovetails with other violence-reduction efforts.

They also asked for plans to bring more civilians into administrative roles within the department and reduce 911 service calls.

“This is critically urgent,” they wrote. “As summer is upon us, Baltimore City can ill afford a police department that lacks a strategic approach to combating violent crime.”

Letter from @CouncilPresBMS & @CouncilmanETC to @BaltimorePolice calling on plans for: 1) Comprehensive Crime Plan; 2) Civilianization; and 3) 911 Service Call Reduction. These plans are critically important to ensuring the department is efficient and effective.

— Eric Costello (@CouncilmanETC) June 3, 2019

Scott has called for such a plan for years. In 2017, Scott abruptly ended a Public Safety Committee hearing when agency heads handed over a packet full of statistics instead of a coordinated strategy.

A month later he released his own plan, “Live To Be More,” attacking the violence “through a public health lens,” with proposals to reduce absenteeism in school, start youth programs, adopt a new patrol shift schedule for police officers and expand the anti-violence Safe Streets initiative, among other proposals.

Under former Mayor Catherine Pugh, the city launched the Violence Reduction Initiative, which floods eight zones across the city impacted by crime with increased services, including police patrols.

As for the lack of a crime plan, this is an issue where both lawmakers and the Fraternal Order of Police seem to agree. In February, Sgt. Mike Mancuso, president of the local lodge of the police union, lamented to The Sun there’s “no existing crime plan” and said patrol shifts are understaffed, leading officers to be overwhelmed with calls.

The Baltimore Police Department did not return a request for comment about the call for a crime plan.

Brandon Weigel is the managing editor of Baltimore Fishbowl. A graduate of the University of Maryland, he has been published in The Washington Post, The Sun, Baltimore Magazine, Urbanite, The Baltimore...