$1 million for overtime OK'd to help police combat crime

Mayor approves spending amid rash of homicides

October 20, 2001|By Del Quentin Wilber | Del Quentin Wilber,SUN STAFF

Mayor Martin O'Malley authorized the Police Department yesterday to spend $1 million in additional overtime to combat crime.

The $1 million will come from overtime savings by other agencies and a "rainy day" fund for unanticipated expenses, officials said. O'Malley said at a news conference that he approved freeing the money because he wants to continue to aggressively battle crime.

The city recently has weathered a rash of homicides and shootings that are attributable, in part, to a police force "distracted" by anti-terrorism duties, Commissioner Edward T. Norris has said.

O'Malley said 20 people have been killed in the past 19 days. Shootings have increased 2 percent in the past month, a stark contrast to the 12 percent decline this year.

For the year, O'Malley and other officials noted, overall violent crime - which includes assaults, rapes and robberies - is 12 percent lower than it was last year.

Homicides are down 8.6 percent. As of Oct. 13, rapes had declined 32 percent; robberies, 15 percent; and assaults, 9 percent.

Norris met with his top commanders Thursday evening to discuss how to keep crime in check while making Baltimore a harder target for terrorists.

Norris told commanders to pick their most productive officers to target drug corners and areas of violence.

O'Malley said he wants officers to go after the "chemical attack of heroin and cocaine ... and people slinging guns."

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