Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young told a Trump administration official Monday that increased federal funding for social programs for youth provides the best way to fight crime in Baltimore.
With John Fleming, U.S. assistant secretary of commerce for economic development, and Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland, on stage next to him, Young said spending on recreation and parks programs helps battle crime, while “the war on drugs is a failed war.”
“You know you talk about the crime that’s going on in Baltimore city, and around the country, because it’s not just germane to Baltimore, because it’s happening all over. What happened was when federal dollars dried up that was paying for social programs, like recreation and parks programs, they used to fund our (recreation) departments — we had money flowing in — if you really want to stop the war on drugs put money back into those kind of programs,” Young said.
The mayor’s comments came during an event celebrating the federal government’s investment of $1.6 million in the redevelopment of the Hoen & Co. Lithograph Building in east Baltimore.
Young, the previous council president who assumed the job of mayor in May after scandal pushed Catherine Pugh to resign, has long advocated for increased spending on youth programs and recreation centers.
Arguably the highlight of his terms as council president was creating the Baltimore Children & Youth Fund, a $12 million non-lapsing fund approved by city voters in 2016.
A recent recommendation by the mayor regarding how to handle youth and deadly criminal violence recently raised eye brows. Young reportedly suggested city youth be allowed to settle grudges in the boxing ring.
His staff later said the mayor meant exposing young residents to the discipline of boxing could prevent street violence. Young, according to his staff, was not advocating for letting Baltimore youth settle street beefs in the ring.