Are Baltimore Dems finally getting a clue on crime?
When riots exploded in Baltimore almost two years ago after the death of Freddy Gray in police custody, and then-mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake called for "room to destroy," I resigned myself to the Detroitization of another American city. Detroit's riots in 1967 doomed that city to a cycle of decline, with affluent people of all races fleeing the escalating taxes, rising crime, and plummeting quality of municipal services, including schools. The results have included large swaths of a depopulated city returning to nature once the derelict homes and other structures are bulldozed.
It is a kind of death sentence for a large portion of a major city.
Baltimore may be facing the same grim future. Writing in the Baltimore Sun, David Placher lays out the grim data:
With the U.S. Census Bureau reporting yet another year of population loss for the city, it doesn't take an investigator to determine the causes.
The city's scary record of 343 homicides in 2017 affirms the city's well-known reputation as a dangerous place to live. Even if 2018 has fewer homicides, it doesn't take a fortune teller to predict that this year's homicide rate will be high. Until the city substantially reduces its homicide and other crimes rates, people will continue to view the city as dangerous and be reluctant to stay or move here.
The city's outrageous property tax of $2.248 per $100 of a property's assessed value is more than double of its surrounding jurisdictions
Leave behind crime, horrible schools, and high taxes by moving out – that's a pretty irresistible offer for anyone able to move a few miles.
North Charles Street, Baltimore (photo credit: Max Pixel).
But maybe, just maybe, there is time for second thoughts and corrective action in the part of Baltimore's politicians in office (all of whom are Democrats). Paul Mirengoff repots in Powerline:
Now that this kind of sentiment has helped produce a spike in homicides, earning Baltimore the title of America's most dangerous city, the pols are singing a different tune. In fact, many are calling on the state legislature to enact tough anti-crime legislation.
Here's Del. Cheryl Glenn (D-Baltimore City), chair of the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland:
We know we have to do something. Our constituents want us to do something. We can't bury our heads in the sand and we can't keep slapping people on the wrists.
The spike in crime isn't just affecting legislators' constituents. One delegate says the brother of a relative was killed last year. The grandson of another delegate suffered the same fate. ...
Baltimore mayor Catherine Pugh and a sizable number of delegates [are] backing legislation that would raise the maximum sentence from 20 years to 40 years for a second-time offender who uses a firearm in connection with drug trafficking or to commit a violent crime. The legislation would also double the penalty for witness intimidation to 10 years in prison and a fine of $10,000. In addition, it would would [sic] repeal a law that allows a defendant charged with or serving a sentence for a violent crime to be transferred from jail for drug treatment.
Civil rights advocates and defense lawyers are not amused[.]
I hope Baltimore does learn a lesson from its tolerant approach to criminals. Maybe the experience of ignoring "civil rights advocates" would lead to eye-opening on other liberal shibboleths on "taxing the rich."
But I am not in the least optimistic. National Democrats have too much to lose.