Governor Martin O'Malley, Speaker Michael Busch Celebrate Crime Reduction in Capital City
ANNAPOLIS, MD (June 2, 2009) - Governor Martin O’Malley today joined House Speaker Michael E. Busch, Annapolis Mayor Ellen Moyer, public safety officials and community leaders to celebrate the successes of the Capital City Safe Streets (CCSS) program, launched one year ago as a first-of-its-kind state and local partnership to reduce crime in Annapolis. To date, total crime is down 32 percent and violent crime is down 39 percent in Annapolis over the past year, when compared to the 12 months prior.
“Improving public safety in our neighborhoods and communities is the most important obligation we have as servants of the Maryland public,” said Governor O’Malley. “The Capital City Safe Streets initiative shows that by working together, across borders and throughout our One Maryland, we can harness the necessary tools to make our neighborhoods safer and protect Maryland families. Today, we are seeing the unmistakable benefits of this unique partnership.”
“The Capital City Safe Streets program demonstrates the strides we can make as a State when we work together,” said Speaker Busch. “With help from federal, state and local governments, neighborhood groups and community members, this unprecedented effort has improved safety across our community. I look forward to the progress we will continue to make in Year Two.”
The Capital City Safe Streets initiative was formed in April 2008. Through a combination of improved police tactics and practices, modern and enhanced technology, and the integration of expanded community partnerships, Annapolis benefited from a remarkable reduction in serious crime since the inception of CCSS. Building on the success of the crime reduction program, Governor O’Malley and Speaker Busch announced a new focus on expanding community engagement during Year Two. During Year Two of the program, the Annapolis Police Department (APD) will be begin implementing two Safe Zones during Year Two, that will include youth and community events including health and job fairs. The APD along with community partners like the Boys & Girls Club of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County, will expand and begin new mentoring programs for at-risk youth and partnering with local elementary schools. Currently, the Boys & Girls Club mentors 150 youth and serves 7,000 kids a year in the Annapolis area.
“The times we live in demand extraordinary partnerships to ensure safe streets and safe communities,” said Mayor Ellen Moyer. “I am proud that Annapolis is part of this model program. The changes brought about in this collaboration have helped reduced the crime rate while allowing us to wage a new war on the use of illegal drugs and guns.”
“The remarkable success of the Capital City Safe Streets Coalition demonstrates the value of a comprehensive and coordinated law enforcement strategy,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein.
The CCSS Initiative promotes increased coordination among state, local, and federal public safety agencies. . Annapolis Police served 22% more warrants in this time period compared to the prior year resulting from coordinated warrant service with the Anne Arundel County Sheriffs Office. Illustrating cooperation with the Anne Arundel County Police, detectives from both agencies joined forces for three months this year investigating illegal narcotic operations in the City of Annapolis. Detectives made 75 undercover “drug buys” resulting in 48 felony drug charges and indictments. Earlier in the year the Maryland State Police Gang and Narcotic Units joined Annapolis Police and, together, made 50 arrests.
As part of the CCSS initiative, the APD has improved its capacity to reduce crime. Working closely with the Division of Parole and Probation, violent offenders are being removed from the community. Arrest notification is immediately initiated to Parole and Probation, and probation violation warrants are requested, issued, and served without unnecessary delay. The Community Prosecutor, funded in part by a CCSS grant, has successfully prosecuted repeat and violent offenders leading to incarceration. To date, more than 25 violent offenders have been violated and incarcerated.
“With the support and vision of Governor Martin O’Malley and Speaker Mike Busch, and the cooperation and hard work of many government departments, the City of Annapolis has truly benefited from the Capital City Safe Streets program and is much safer than before,” said Annapolis Police Chief Michael Pristoop. “This comprehensive plan for reducing crime in our City has seen unprecedented success in its first year. As the members continue to meet and relationships continue to develop in the future, the program will have an even greater impact on improving public safety in Annapolis.”
Future plans also include more joint-agency initiatives, closed-circuit video in and around low income housing communities, updated technology including rugged laptops, field-based reporting, electronic citations, and an interactive crime-mapping website. The APD is capitalizing on new technology, resources and partnerships along with effective enforcement strategies in modernizing the Department.
Since taking office, the O’Malley-Brown Administration has put families first by making public safety a top priority, achieving 66 fewer homicides last year statewide – a 12 percent reduction – the second highest reduction in homicides in nearly a quarter-century.
Working with the legislature, the O’Malley-Brown Administration has increased public safety funding in Maryland by more than $200 million in the first three years to make Maryland families safer, including over $52 million this year for the purchase of three new State Police Medevac helicopters to replace our aging fleet of these vital public safety tools, and $66 million to fully fund police aid to keep our streets safer. Following the passage of President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the O’Malley-Brown Administration moved swiftly to capture more than $26 million in additional federal funding to put state-of-the-art law enforcement and information sharing technologies into the hands of our police at every level across our State.
And the O’Malley-Brown Administration has expanded the use of law enforcement technology, including unprecedented cross-border information sharing among regional law enforcement agencies in Washington, D.C. and Virginia through the new Public Safety Dashboard; eliminating an inherited backlog of over 24,000 DNA samples and expanding DNA sample collection to include individuals who are arrested and charged with crimes of violence; and creating Violence Prevention Initiative to identify and closely monitor the most violent, repeat offenders in our State to get them off the streets the moment they become a risk to the public.
Governor O’Malley successfully fought for legislation this session including measures that take firearms out of the hands of domestic abusers and legislation enacting stricter penalties for drunk drivers and establishing speed cameras in highway work zones to protect drivers and road workers.