Dealing with a shortage of police in Baltimore, Mayor Brandon Scott and Police Commissioner Michael Harrison, announced a new policing initiative. The plan will focus on what they call intelligent deployment of police patrols.
Baltimore is currently on pace to have more than 300 homicides this year for the eighth year in a row. The city is also on pace for a significant year-over-year increase in nonfatal shootings.
Part of that deployment strategy will include, the “False Alarm Reduction Program,” an initiative to help keep officers on the streets and not responding to false burglar alarms at businesses across the city.
“The problem is if we have our officers out doing things that are not actually helping with public safety, we would prefer not to have our officers responding to false alarms instead of being out here on the streets,” said James Bentley, spokesman for the Mayor’s Office.
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Yep, the city leaders call it smart policing. However, Beth Hawks, owner of Zelda’s Zen, believes the real issue should be addressing the officer shortage and not simply stretching the understaffed force that it has.
“We don’t understand why there is such a problem hiring police officers,” Hawks said. “We are at a crisis right now because they’re expecting a record-breaking year for homicides,” she added.
At police headquarters in January, 38 of the city’s newest recruits officially became police officers. That only helps a little bit because the department has said it’s about 330 officers short.