O'Malley aims to reduce armed robberies

September 07, 2001|By Caitlin Francke | Caitlin Francke,SUN STAFF

Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley set another crime-fighting goal yesterday, saying that he wanted to halve the number of armed robberies by the end of next year.

O'Malley's comments came at a special meeting of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, the agency attempting to reform the city justice system.

The mayor, who ran on a tough-on-crime platform, is using as his baseline the number of armed robberies in 1999 - the year he took office. That year, 7,595 such crimes occurred. He wants that number reduced by 50 percent by the end of 2002.

"If we succeed in doing that," O' Malley said after the meeting, "I'll be willing to bet a fair amount of money that we would be the only major city in America to achieve that dramatic of a reduction over that short of a period of time."

O'Malley pledged to reduce the number of homicides per year below the 300-plus the city had recorded for a decade. After a beefed-up police effort, the number of homicides dropped to 262 last year, and the mayor has said he wants that number lowered to 175 by the end of next year.

The number of armed robberies has declined by at least 13 percent. Last year, 6,613 of the crimes were reported. This year, the city is on pace to drop that number even further. As of June 30, 2,743 armed robberies had been committed - 575 less than during the same period last year.

The council members also discussed ways to better the criminal justice system.

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