Bealefeld: Baltimore is safer

September 20, 2010

A letter to the Baltimore Sun is grossly misleading in its effort to discredit Baltimore's continued progress reducing violent crime ("Rawlings-Blake policies make Baltimore less safe," Sept. 14). The simple truth is that since Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake took office, murder, shootings and overall gun crime continue to decline to historic lows.

Despite an inherited $121 million budget deficit, an amount equal to half of our police force's budget, Mayor Rawlings-Blake and the City Council made the tough decisions necessary to fully fund every single police officer position, maintain our smart crime camera technology infrastructure and support our targeted gun suppression efforts.

Additionally, Mayor Rawlings-Blake has authorized me to implement an ambitious plan to hire 100 new police officers by the end of 2010 and 350 new officers by the end of 2011. This action demonstrates a profound and lasting commitment to public safety and the Baltimore Police Department.

As you are reading this, the brave and selfless men and women of the Baltimore Police Department are answering calls, confronting danger and rising to the challenge to keep you safe and secure, steady through all of the sacrifices they are asked to make. Asserting that violent crime is rising, when in fact, it is on the decline, denigrates the hard-fought progress made by the BPD and our law enforcement and community partners.

Frederick H. Bealefeld III, Baltimore

The writer is Baltimore's police commissioner.

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