Posts Tagged ‘Maryland’

His brother’s keeper

July 3, 2018

This article profiles T.J. Smith, spokesman for Baltimore PD since a few months after the 2015 riots. A Baltimore native but veteran of a neighboring county police department, he’s become the face and voice of a city that continues to experience nearly a murder a day, using “candid language to express his disgust, as if he were just an ordinary citizen angry about the news.” The article weaves together the story of the city’s violence and Smith’s personal journey, including his brother’s murder one year ago.


Civilian police commissioners

June 21, 2018

This column discusses the potential benefits of utilizing civilian police commissioners at the head of police departments, including current or past examples in New York, Baltimore, and a few other cities. The argument is that commissioners “maintain a level of objectivity and avoid much of the conflict that uniformed police chiefs often face in having to balance their allegiance between the elected officials who appointed them and the personnel who share the uniform that they wear.”

Where killings go unsolved

June 7, 2018

This article analyzes over 50,000 homicides in U.S. cities, mapping neighborhoods with higher and lower clearance rates. There are variations between cities but also within, with fewer murders solved in low-income minority neighborhoods. Factors seem to include the challenge presented by drug- and gang-related cases, reluctant witnesses, lack of trust in police, and the resources devoted to homicide investigation.

National standards for SROs

May 31, 2018

This article reports on proposed legislation in Congress that would establish national training standards for school resource officers. A few states have adopted specific training mandates for SROs but most have not. The proposals would also begin national data collection on SROs and develop a set of best practices.

Mining social media

April 27, 2018

This article discusses legal and ethical issues connected to police mining of social media. Data from social media have the potential to solve and prevent crimes as well as terror attacks, but many 4th amendment and privacy questions have yet to be sorted out. Also, choices of search terms and phrases can reflect bias and result in police actions that have disproportionate impact on some groups. Among the suggestions is transparency so residents can understand and critique the algorithms and processes that police propose.

World’s most murderous cities

April 5, 2018

This article and map identify the world’s 50 deadliest cities in 2016. There is certainly a pattern — 43 are in Latin America and the Caribbean, 4 in the mainland U.S. (St. Louis, Baltimore, New Orleans, and Detroit), and 3 in South Africa. Cities in Mexico, Brazil, and Venezuela occupy the top 12 (worst) rankings.

Fear of being stopped

March 13, 2018

This article and short video, a collaboration of National Geographic and ESPN, highlight the experiences of Black drivers who have been frequently stopped by police for no apparent reason. While vehicle stops are routine for police, they can be stressful for citizens as well as family members riding with them. The article also compares stop data from several states, nearly all of which indicate disproportionate impact on drivers of color.

Safety & security for houses of worship

January 22, 2018

This article highlights the Safeguarding Houses of Worship (SHOW) app developed by NIJ’s technology center system to assist safety and security planning. The app is available only to law enforcement agencies which are encouraged to sponsor training sessions and can then share download codes with participating faith-based institutions in their jurisdiction.

Evaluation of gun crime measures in Baltimore

January 13, 2018

This article reports a study of gun crime initiatives implemented in Baltimore since 2003. The most effective at reducing shootings was a plainclothes unit targeting hot spots and known offenders, but that same unit generated excess complaints and lawsuits and was subsequently disbanded. The study’s author suggests re-instituting the strategy with stricter supervision and controls. Other measures, including drug arrests, Ceasefire call-ins, and street interrupters had smaller or inconsistent effects.

Progress in Baltimore

January 2, 2018

The national news about 2017 in Baltimore is its high murder rate — 56 per 100,000 residents, more than 10 times higher than New York.  Less widely known is that the police department has made many improvements in performance, transparency, and accountability over the past 2 years, with others pending, as outlined by the police commissioner in this column.