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by Peter Moskos

May 15, 2010

Crime and arrests down in Baltimore

A good article by Ben Nuckols about crime in Baltimore and the good things happening under Police Commissioner Frederick Bealefeld.
In a blighted west Baltimore neighborhood, Lt. Ian Dombroski turns his unmarked police car around a corner and sees several men standing outside a liquor store. They scatter immediately.

Dombroski knows they're probably selling drugs, but he keeps driving. Five years ago, he said, officers who happened upon a similar scene wouldn't take such a selective approach.

"We'd all jump out, grab all the junkies, find out who had the drugs on 'em, lock 'em up, and that might be three or four drug arrests right there," Dombroski said. "And we'd go, 'Good, those are numbers.'"

But under Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III, officers in one of the nation's most violent cities are no longer being told to beef up arrest statistics. The number of arrests has declined the past two years. Yet homicides and shootings are down, too -- to totals not seen since the late 1980s.


Bren said...

It's been a while since I read your book but I recall that residents liked dealers getting arrested and pushed off corners.

What might have changed that residents tolerate the new, less aggressive strategy?

PCM said...

It seems to work.


Who wouldn't like dealers getting off corners... the problem is they come right back.

And a lot of those arrests were not of dealers but of drug addicts.

Bren said...

Why couldn't local politics be that sensible in the DC side of maryland?