Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced on Friday that the city will no longer pursue charges on prostitution, drug possession, minor traffic offenses, and other “quality of life” crimes.
At the start of the pandemic, Mosby had announced this policy as a temporary measure designed to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.
Mosby made this policy permanent because she believes that lower level crimes had fallen because of the lack of enforcement.
During the past year, violent crime is down 20% and property crimes are down 36%. Homicides fell slightly during the same period.
“Clearly, the data suggest there is no public safety value in prosecuting low-level offenses,” said Mosby.
Baltimore’s experiment may not work in every US city. Violent crime and homicides have risen in most cities in the US; however, Baltimore’s did not. Property and drug crimes have fallen nationwide in 2020, likely due to stay at home orders. Baltimore’s decrease in these crimes likely could be due to the pandemic.
“Our understanding is that the police are going to follow what they’ve been doing for the past year, which is not arresting people based on the offenses I mentioned,” said Mosby.
Baltimore police will instead focus on violent crime and drug trafficking. The police will work with a local nonprofit, Baltimore Crisis Reponse Inc., to help those battling mental illness, homelessness, and drug addiction.