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Hogan calls for update from mayor on Baltimore crime plan

Gov. Larry Hogan Thursday renewed his criticisms of Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott’s efforts to reduce violent crime, demanding that the mayor produce a comprehensive update on the implementation of his anti-crime plan.

In a two-page letter, the second-term Republican called on the Democratic leader to account for how state funds are being spent on public safety. 

“In February you assured us that there was a comprehensive plan in place, but at this point I do not believe anyone — including you – believes it is working,” Hogan wrote in the letter released on social media.

The letter follows a meeting between Hogan and Scott to discuss violent crime in the city.

“The state funded every single one of the requests you made when we met,” Hogan wrote.

A spokesman for Scott did not respond to a request for comment. In the past, Scott — and other city officials — have forcefully rejected Hogan’s comments about the city’s inability to reduce violent crime.

Last week six Baltimore City Council members held a news conference and sent a letter to the city police department calling for a short-term plan for dealing with violent crime to be developed and made public by early June.

Hogan said the actions of the council members revealed “a complete and utter lack of progress toward implementing the plan you (Scott) outlined.”

In his letter, Hogan calls on the mayor and police officials to provide an “immediate and precise accounting of the number of felony warrants” the department has open. Hogan also demanded statistics on the number of warrants closed by the city or with other law enforcement agencies since February.

Baltimore has recorded more than 300 homicides annually in each of the last seven years. So far, there have been 128 homicides, a pace that would again exceed the 300 mark.

Meanwhile, violent crime in Baltimore has become a political issue among Democratic candidates for governor.

On Wednesday, gubernatorial candidate Wes Moore released a letter sent to Hogan in which he demanded the governor take six steps to address the violence including that include filling 100 parole and probation vacancies; collaborating with federal agencies; instituting programs to identify those on supervised release who could perpetrate or be victims of violent crimes; and providing additional support for crisis intervention teams.

“As you are well aware, violent crime in Baltimore is a crisis that has been sustained the entirety of your tenure as governor of Maryland,” Moore wrote. “Nearly every day, people are dying in our streets and families are being torn apart. The effects of violence and trauma are far-reaching, permeate every facet of our lives, and threaten the well-being and future of our state.”

Similarly, Rushern Baker III, the former Prince George’s County executive, has vowed to make reducing violent crime in Baltimore a centerpiece of his administration and promised to move his office to the city if elected governor. He renewed his call on Hogan to impose a state of emergency in the city following the press conference by city council members.

“Now it is on the state to step up and make the necessary resources available,” Baker said last week. “Governor Hogan no longer has any excuse. He can avoid my calls for a state of emergency all he likes, but the city council is literally pleading for assistance, and that is something no governor should ignore.”