The Governor has set strategic policy goals to reduce violent crime by 20 percent, and reduce violent crimes against women and children by 25 percent, by 2012. With the clearing of the DNA backlog, the establishment of the Violence Prevention Initiative, and unprecedented law enforcement and Parole and Probation information sharing, together, we’ve driven violent crime to its lowest rate since recording began in 1975. We’ve also driven juvenile homicides down 38 percent since 2008. However, the state still ranks among the nation’s ten most violent.
Leaders and stakeholders suggest that Maryland address this ongoing challenge by more consistently applying VPI standards to VPI offenders, expanding evidence-based treatment programs, initiating electronic warrants to expedite service, expanding the usage of FastID devices, centralizing the License Plate Reader network, and enacting just-case eviction legislation holding landlords accountable for a pattern of criminal activity at properties, among other recommendations for reducing crime.
Specific to women and children, stakeholders recommend enhanced early identification of abusers and intervention and treatment programs, expanding local truancy programs, and imposing additional penalties for violent crimes witnessed by a child.
Governor O’Malley, a longtime advocate of more effective and innovative homeland security, also set the goal of making Maryland the national leader in homeland security preparedness by 2012. Maryland’s progress toward the goal includes the expansion of ESSENCE, an electronic bio-surveillance program that tracks hospital emergency room visits and other important public health information and serves as an early warning for disease outbreaks, initiating the creation of an interoperable communications network for first responders and other emergency personnel, and the acquisition and deployment of cutting edge bomb squad equipment and closed circuit television cameras.
Leaders and stakeholders suggested that Maryland build on these efforts by integrating additional data into ESSENCE, linking certain non-emergency sectors into the interoperable communications network, and formalizing the role of the State Fire Marshall as the coordinating agency for cross-jurisdictional bomb response support during concurrent bomb events.