Governor Larry Hogan has outlined new initiatives that will help combat gang activity, violent crime and repeat offenders in Baltimore and statewide.

On December 5, Governor Larry Hogan, alongside federal, state, and local law enforcement personnel announced a series of initiatives designed to reduce Baltimore City’s widespread violent crime. The announcement also ensured that violent criminals will be justly punished. In the announcement, Hogan also revealed that state and federal law enforcement will assist in reducing violent crimes via a data sharing network which will help prosecuting attorneys and police in dismantling gang networks in the state.

In Baltimore alone, over 330 drug trafficking networks have been identified while more than 10,000 individuals are tied to the city’s gangs.  The high rates of violent crime in Baltimore has prompted Governor Hogan to take immediate action in assisting the city’s police department in cracking down on violent offenders. Hogan has instructed the Maryland State Police to increase patrols within the city, particularly in areas in which crime rates are high.  The initiatives also include providing City Police with assistance by State Police and parole and probation officers in tracking down repeat criminals and individuals with outstanding warrants for violent crimes.  The effort by state and local authorities will also be aided by 80 U.S. Marshals.

Statewide, Hogan’s initiatives will battle violent crime via the newly formed Maryland Criminal Intelligence Network which is a data sharing network that will help localized law enforcement to work together and take down criminal networks and enterprises that transcend jurisdictional boundaries.  The Governor also has signed an executive order which will see the creation of the Governor’s Council on Gangs and Violent Criminal Networks which will be staffed by members of local and state law enforcement as well as federal criminal justice agencies.

Additionally, Hogan revealed that he will introduce three new bills in the beginning of the 2018 legislative session which will target violent crime in Baltimore and statewide.  One of the bills is designed to ensure that second time violent crime offenders must serve their entire sentence with no possibility of parole.  The second of the three bills Hogan will propose calls for tougher sentencing for repeat gun offenders via a doubled minimum sentence of ten years in cases in which firearms are used to commit felonies and violent crimes.

The proposed bill also calls for additional penalties in drug trafficking offenses in which a firearm was used illegally.  The Governor’s third proposal will expand the list of gang related crimes that can be prosecuted beyond jurisdictional borders.  Each of the three bills will be introduced as “emergency legislation” as the need for more flexibility and resources in combating violent crime has become more evident and as drug trafficking and gang activity has started to rise.

What do you think of these proposed bills in fighting crime around the Baltimore area and statewide? Let us know in the comments!

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